Student loan debt by state

States where people have the most & least student loan debt

In 2019, student loan debt in the United States hit $1.6 trillion, the highest it’s ever been, according to data compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. But that debt doesn’t affect all borrowers equally. While 34% of adults ages 18 to 29 have student loan debt, according to figures from Pew Research, 22% of 30- to 44-year-olds and 4% of those age 45 and older also have student loan debt. 

Getting and maintaining control over your student loans includes fully understanding your repayment options. One crucial factor affecting your loan and your repayment options are whether they are federal or private. 

“If your loans are federal, look into all repayment options,” said Michael Bovee, a debt relief expert and the co-founder of Resolve. “Paying so little that your loans are actually increasing from unpaid interest is not great. But it is better than default, fees and tax refund intercepts.”

If your loans are private, however, “you may be able to settle them for less than what you owe. It’s going to impact your credit report and score in a serious way, but if you’re already behind, that ship has sailed and you’ll improve your options going forward by settling,” Bovee said.

Related articles:
Here’s what you need to know about repayment options for private student loans
Federal student loan repayment options explained

If you’re wondering how your student loan debt compares to that of other people, the average student loan debt per borrower in the United States now stands at $35,359, according to data compiled by Experian. Here’s a further breakdown of Experian’s student loan debt data by state:

States with the most & least student loan debt

The average share of student loan debt changes from state to state. Some states carry a smaller amount of the burden:

  • South Dakota has the least student loan debt with $28,782 in 2019.
  • Wyoming follows with $28,974.
  • However, Idaho had the smallest increase in student loan debt from 2018 to 2019 at 4.0%.

Meanwhile, other states have far more debt on average:

  • The District of Columbia has far more average debt than other states with $55,729 in 2019.
  • Georgia follows with $40,692.
  • The largest percentage jump from 2018 to 2019 occurred in Mississippi at 9.4%.

Average student loan debt in every state

51. South Dakota
2018: $27,082
2019: $28,782
Change: +6.3%

50. Wyoming
2018: $27,780
2019: $28,974
Change: +4.3%

49. North Dakota
2018: $27,779
2019: $29,267
Change: +5.4%

48. Iowa
2018: $27,886
2019: $29,416
Change: +5.5%

47. Nebraska
2018: $28,183
2019: $30,013
Change: +6.5%

46. Wisconsin
2018: $28,955
2019: $30,556
Change: +5.5%

45. Montana
2018: $29,250
2019: $31,030
Change: +6.1%

44. West Virginia
2018: $29,931
2019: $31,222
Change: +4.3%

43. Kansas
2018: $29,409
2019: $31,239
Change: +6.2%

42. Utah
2018: $30,244
2019: $31,671
Change: +4.7%

41. Oklahoma
2018: $29,884
2019: $31,673
Change: +6.0%

40. Indiana
2018: $30,218
2019: $31,992
Change: +5.9%

39. Minnesota
2018: $30,395
2019: $32,052
Change: +5.5%

38. Alaska
2018: $30,084
2019: $32,096
Change: +6.7%

37. Kentucky
2018: $30,134
2019: $32,174
Change: +6.8%

36. Arkansas
2018: $30,345
2019: $32,203
Change: +6.1%

35. Idaho
2018: $31,121
2019: $32,351
Change: +4.0%

34. Texas
2018: $30,677
2019: $32,441
Change: +5.8%

33. Maine
2018: $30,864
2019: $32,521
Change: +5.4%

32. Rhode Island
2018: $31,739
2019: $33,373
Change: +5.1%

31. Missouri
2018: $31,752
2019: $33,607
Change: +5.8%

30. New Mexico
2018: $30,884
2019: $33,610
Change: +8.8%

29. Nevada
2018: $31,629
2019: $33,863
Change: +7.1%

28. New Hampshire
2018: $31,931
2019: $34,072
Change: +6.7%

27. Washington
2018: $31,978
2019: $34,193
Change: +6.9%

26. Vermont
2018: $32,083
2019: $34,221
Change: +6.7%

25. Ohio
2018: $32,575
2019: $34,365
Change: +5.5%

24. Louisiana
2018: $32,516
2019: $34,508
Change: +6.1%

23. Arizona
2018: $32,705
2019: $34,740
Change: +6.2%

22. Pennsylvania
2018: $32,698
2019: $34,840
Change: +6.6%

21. Hawaii
2018: $33,084
2019: $35,009
Change: +5.8%

20. Tennessee
2018: $32,788
2019: $35,016
Change: +6.8%

19. Michigan
2018: $33,243
2019: $35,307
Change: +6.2%

18. Mississippi
2018: $32,431
2019: $35,478
Change: +9.4%

17. Colorado
2018: $33,521
2019: $35,658
Change: +6.4%

16. Alabama
2018: $33,742
2019: $35,674
Change: +5.7%

15. Connecticut
2018: $34,203
2019: $36,025
Change: +5.3%

14. Delaware
2018: $34,000
2019: $36,098
Change: +6.2%

13. Massachusetts
2018: $34,671
2019: $36,181
Change: +4.4%

12. North Carolina
2018: $33,959
2019: $36,357
Change: +6.8%

11. South Carolina
2018: $34,515
2019: $36,552
Change: +5.9%

10. Florida
2018: $33,833
2019: $36,706
Change: +8.5%

9. Virginia
2018: $34,930
2019: $36,885
Change: +5.6%

8. Illinois
2018: $34,821
2019: $36,975
Change: +6.2%

7. Oregon
2018: $35,047
2019: $36,989
Change: +5.5%

6. New Jersey
2018: $35,104
2019: $37,370
Change: +6.5%

5. California
2018: $35,238
2019: $37,468
Change: +6.3%

4. New York
2018: $36,032
2019: $37,753
Change: +4.8%

3. Maryland
2018: $38,496
2019: $40,630
Change: +5.5%

2. Georgia
2018: $37,644
2019: $40,692
Change: +8.1%

1. District of Columbia
2018: $52,648
2019: $55,729
Change: +5.8%

Why Resolve?

If you’re struggling to meet your debt obligations and you’d like to consider all of your debt relief options, Resolve is here to help. We can assess your situation and show you your options for paying off your debt. Our Resolve platform and debt guidance are free. You can review and compare debt relief paths and ask our experts questions without cost. If you then choose to work with one of the service providers in the Resolve Network, we’ll inform you of the fee for their service. 

Your first step is to complete your profile here. We’re also happy to speak with you to discuss your situation further. Just send us a message!

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