10 Best and Worst States for Student Loan Debt

Last Updated Dec 3, 2009 2:06 AM EST

If you attend a college in the Northeast, chances are you're going to graduate with higher student loan Best and Worst States for Student Loan Debtdebt.

Seven of the 10 states which produce graduates with the worst student debt are located on the East Coast, according to a new survey by the Project on Student Debt.

On the flip side, students who graduate from colleges in the West manage to earn bachelor degrees with the lowest student loan debt.

Why do students in the Northeast rack up the most education loans? Students in these states are more likely to attend private colleges and even the state schools in this region are pricier. Out West, students overwhelmingly prefer state universities and the tuition at these public institutions is below the national average.

About two-thirds of students across the country graduate with debt averaging $23,200, which is up six percent since the last survey was conducted four years ago.

10 States With Highest Student Debt Level:

  • Iowa $28,174
  • New York $25,950
  • New Hampshire $25,785
  • Minnesota $25,558
  • Pennsylvania $25,219
  • Vermont $25,047
  • Rhode Island $24,973
  • Maine $24,916
  • Alaska $24,488
  • Connecticut $26,174
10 States With Lowest Student Debt Level:
  • Utah $13,041
  • Hawaii $15,156
  • Kentucky $15,951
  • Wyoming $16,307
  • Arizona $17,059
  • Georgia $17,296
  • California $17,795
  • Louisiana $17,827
  • Nevada $17,921
  • Colorado $18,321
What's discouraging about these numbers is that the debt levels are misleading. These figures only count the debt that students incur and not the college loans that parents take out. Also, because colleges aren't audited for their debt figures, they have an incentive to under report their numbers.

Lynn O'Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also writes about college at TheCollegeSolutionBlog.
Student debt image by AlanCleaver_2000. CC 2.0.

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