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A Look at Americans’ Student Loan Debt by State

·6 min read
michaeljung / Getty Images/iStockphoto
michaeljung / Getty Images/iStockphoto

In his first days in office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order extending the student loan relief portion of the CARES Act, originally enacted during the Trump administration. The loan relief, which was implemented to help those struggling financially amid the coronavirus pandemic, has given 42 million people with federal student loans a time out on making student loan payments and placed a freeze on interest.

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This has stirred up talk among lawmakers about the possibility of canceling at least some portion of student debt, which could put money that would have gone to loan payments back in the economy. Such an act would provide more permanent relief to student loan borrowers from coast to coast, with the impact being felt more heavily in some states than others. Congress has yet to introduce a bill, and the president is waiting for the U.S. Department of Education to determine whether he could use executive authority to cancel debt.

GOBankingRates compiled information from the most recent annual report by The Institute for College Access and Success to show how student loan debt varies from region to region. The study goes from the state with the lowest average total for student loan debt to the highest, including the percentage of the total population of 2019 graduates with outstanding loans.

So are your neighbors more likely to be sweating out how they're going to pay down their massive loans?

Here's a closer look at the states that have the most people praying for the day when their student debt is canceled.

Last updated: June 22, 2021

50. Utah

  • Average student loan debt: $17,935

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 40%

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Iowa City, USA - October 8, 2011: The Old Capitol building on the Pentacrest on the campus of the University of Iowa.
Iowa City, USA - October 8, 2011: The Old Capitol building on the Pentacrest on the campus of the University of Iowa.

49. Iowa

  • Average student loan debt: $20,259

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 63%

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48. New Mexico

  • Average student loan debt: $20,991

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 45%

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47. Nevada

  • Average student loan debt: $21,254

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 46%

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46. California

  • Average student loan debt: $21,485

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 47%

45. Wyoming

  • Average student loan debt: $23,444

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 46%

44. Hawaii

  • Average student loan debt: $23,577

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 43%

43. Florida

  • Average student loan debt: $24,629

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 48%

42. Washington

  • Average student loan debt: $24,645

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 50%

Students walk in front of the Arizona State Museum on the University of Arizona Campus in Tucson Arizona USA.
Students walk in front of the Arizona State Museum on the University of Arizona Campus in Tucson Arizona USA.

41. Arizona

  • Average student loan debt: $24,712

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 49%

40. Louisiana

  • Average student loan debt: $25,512

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 48%

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39. Oklahoma

  • Average student loan debt: $25,793

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 47%

Alaska, USA - August 12, 2016: Downtown Juneau with flowers in the foreground with painted wooden storefront buildings and the Red Dog Saloon.
Alaska, USA - August 12, 2016: Downtown Juneau with flowers in the foreground with painted wooden storefront buildings and the Red Dog Saloon.

38. Alaska

  • Average student loan debt: $25,925

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 48%

University-of-Idaho
University-of-Idaho

37. Idaho

  • Average student loan debt: $25,942

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 60%

10913, Nebraska
10913, Nebraska

36. Nebraska

  • Average student loan debt: $26,026

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 57%

University-of-Colorado-Boulder
University-of-Colorado-Boulder

35. Colorado

  • Average student loan debt: $26,562

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 50%

34. North Carolina

  • Average student loan debt: $26,583

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 55%

University of Arkansas campus
University of Arkansas campus

33. Arkansas

  • Average student loan debt: $26,679

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 53%

"Dyche Hall Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.
"Dyche Hall Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.

32. Kansas

  • Average student loan debt: $26,788

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 60%

31. Texas

  • Average student loan debt: $26,951

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 48%

10913, Montana
10913, Montana

30. Montana

  • Average student loan debt: $27,265

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 57%

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University of Tennessee Knoxville
University of Tennessee Knoxville

29. Tennessee

  • Average student loan debt: $27,525

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 60%

28. Oregon

  • Average student loan debt: $27,542

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 54%

10913, Georgia
10913, Georgia

27. Georgia

  • Average student loan debt: $28,081

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 56%

26. Indiana

  • Average student loan debt: $28,112

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 59%

10913, kentucky
10913, kentucky

25. Kentucky

  • Average student loan debt: $28,482

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 58%

University of Missouri
University of Missouri

24. Missouri

  • Average student loan debt: $28,740

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 57%

West Virginia University
West Virginia University

23. West Virginia

  • Average student loan debt: $29,272

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 67%

10913, Illinois
10913, Illinois

22. Illinois

  • Average student loan debt: $29,666

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 61%

21. Alabama

  • Average student loan debt: $29,791

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 50%

Ohio-State-University-Columbus
Ohio-State-University-Columbus

20. Ohio

  • Average student loan debt: $29,886

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 60%

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19. Maryland

  • Average student loan debt: $30,303

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 53%

18. Vermont

  • Average student loan debt: $30,566

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 60%

17. Virginia

  • Average student loan debt: $30,574

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 56%

10913, Michigan
10913, Michigan

16. Michigan

  • Average student loan debt: $30,677

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 59%

15. New York

  • Average student loan debt: $31,155

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 58%

14. South Carolina

  • Average student loan debt: $31,524

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 60%

13. Wisconsin

  • Average student loan debt: $31,550

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 64%

12. Mississippi

  • Average student loan debt: $31,651

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 55%

11. South Dakota

  • Average student loan debt: $31,653

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 74%

10. Minnesota

  • Average student loan debt: $31,856

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 66%

Mayville State University North Dakota
Mayville State University North Dakota

9. North Dakota

  • Average student loan debt: $32,745

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 64%

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

8. Massachusetts

  • Average student loan debt: $33,256

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 55%

Camden, New Jersey, USA - October 31, 2016: Daytime view of the 330 Cooper residence hall and adjacent buildings on the Rutgers University Camden campus.
Camden, New Jersey, USA - October 31, 2016: Daytime view of the 330 Cooper residence hall and adjacent buildings on the Rutgers University Camden campus.

7. New Jersey

  • Average student loan debt: $33,566

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 64%

6. Maine

  • Average student loan debt: $33,591

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 67%

Recitation Hall at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware.
Recitation Hall at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware.

5. Delaware

  • Average student loan debt: $37,447

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 59%

4. Rhode Island

  • Average student loan debt: $37,614

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 59%

Yale Univesrity Connecticut
Yale Univesrity Connecticut

3. Connecticut

  • Average student loan debt: $38,546

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 56%

2. Pennsylvania

  • Average student loan debt: $39,027

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 65%

1. New Hampshire

  • Average student loan debt: $39,410

  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 74%

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Joel Anderson contributed to the reporting for this article.

Methodology: GOBankingRates used data from The Institute for College Access and Success's most recent annual report on student debt to find the average debt held by graduates in each state and the percentage of 2019 graduates in each state who carry any student debt. All data was collected on June 1, 2021.

Photo Disclaimer: Please note photos are for representational purposes only.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: A Look at Americans’ Student Loan Debt by State