10 U.S. States With the Highest Student Loan Debt
July 18, 2012
The nationwide average for student loan debt is at a whopping $25,250, with collective student debt in the U.S. topping $1 trillion and outstripping total credit card debt for the first time in history. As a result, student debt has become a pivotal national issue, with students protesting and economists warning of the impending collapse of the higher education bubble.Yet not all states are experiencing the debt crisis in the same way. Some have relatively low rates of student debt, while others are surpassing the national average by several thousand dollars. Here, we highlight the states with the highest levels of student loan debt (with data drawn from the 2011 Project on Student Debt), where students face even more difficulty than other places in the nation paying back the high cost of their college education.
take to the streets
in protest, but it isn’t likely to change anytime soon. The state is
home to a number of the nation’s highest debt public universities,
including the Maine Maritime Academy and the University of Southern
Maine. Legislators in the state aren’t ignoring the issue, however, and
Democratic Representative Mike Michaud has proposed the Student Loan Default Prevention Act, which would allow the Finance Authority of Maine to provide financial guidance and advice on managing their debt.
Iowa:Surprisingly, this Midwestern state is home to some of the highest student debt in the nation, with the average student carrying $29,598 in student loans. The state has hovered near the top of the rankings for a couple of years, dropping from second to fourth, before surging back up to third in the latest rankings. Statewide, 72% of Iowa’s students graduate with student loan debt and one of its largest schools, Iowa State University, ranks among the highest debt public colleges and universities in the nation. Student debt is even worse at the University of Dubuque, where students graduate with debt that averages $41,399 and even the prestigious University of Iowa leaves students with debt well over the national average, costing a hefty $27,391.
from $18,000 in 2005 to $27,000 in 2011. Despite the high rate of debt
of students in Minnesota (the state is home to three of the nation’s
most high-debt colleges), some legislators in the state have been
fighting against President Obama’s initiative to cap student loan
interest, something the majority of students simply can’t afford to
carry in addition to already sky-high debt.
in the nation for public two-year and four-year colleges, with rates
that continue to rise by as much as 8% each year. The average price of
just tuition at a Vermont public university is $11,341, much higher
than the national average of $6,585. Two-year colleges aren’t much
better, charging a hefty $5,830. With such expensive schools in the
state, it’s no wonder so many students are left burdened with large
amounts of debt after graduation.
Ohio:Ohio’s average student debt is enough to make you cringe ($27,713), but the state is also home to three of the nation’s most high-debt colleges: Cleveland Institute of Art, Ohio Northern University, and Bowling Green State University. As a result, more than 68% of Ohio students graduate in debt, with numbers that put them among the top 10 most indebted in the nation. Politicians in Ohio have taken note of the issue and are working to help lessen the financial burden many students face. Plans are in the works to reduce the amount of time it takes to get some degrees from four years to three and to allow more transfer credits from work experience.
collective student loan
debt of students in New York totaled $66.8 billion, representing 9.3%
of total consumer debt in the state. Many are defaulting as well (7.1%
in 2009), but there is help available for some students. Niagara Falls, N.Y.
is offering $7,000 toward student debt to young professionals who move
to their town in an effort to revive the city, which has in recent
years lost more than half its population. Legislators in the state have
also largely been on the side of students, working hard to ensure that
interest rates stay low and that students can afford to attend college.