Utah Lowest in Nation for Student Debt Per Graduate
Nov 15th, 2017 @ 7:15 PM by Amber Nelson
College graduate debt levels vary greatly from state to state, according to a new study from The Student Loan Report, with students from the Northeast accumulating the most debt and those in the Southwest borrowing the least. Utah graduates took the prize for the very lowest student debt levels last year.
Using data from the Peterson financial aid data set for the Class of 2016, including information from more than 1,100 U.S. universities and colleges, the report found that the average student debt per graduate around the country rose to $17,126. The report uses student debt per college graduate rather than average debt per borrower because it more accurately represents debt loads as it takes into account those who graduate without any student debt.
Of all 2016 college graduates, 61.22% left school with student loan debt. Those who attended public school came away with an average of $16,066 in loans while private school attendees had an average of $19,257 upon graduation.
Debt levels varied widely by region with all the graduates from Northeastern states among the top 20 highest debt levels. New Hampshire school graduates had the highest average debt per graduate at $27,167. Pennsylvania grads held the number 2 spot with an average of $24,622. The other states in the top 5 were South Dakota at $23,641, Minnesota at $21,665 and Connecticut at $21,348.
All of the lowest debt per graduate rates were from the Southwest. Utah school graduates left school with the easiest debt loads with an average of just $7,545 per student. Wyoming students were next with $11,420, and Arizona grads had the next lowest at $11,564. New Mexico schools had an average of $11,788 per graduate, California grads finished school with an average of $12,002 and Nevada students averaged $12,549 in debt at graduation.
Student loan debt has continued to rise over the last decade, with total outstanding debt having reached $1.4 trillion among 44 million borrowers.
Amber Nelson is a seasoned mortgage industry writer and a regular contributor to Loan.com and Mortgage101.com.