States with the Least and Most Student Loan Debt
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Student Loan Debt Across America: Where Does Your State Rank?

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States with the Least and Most Student Loan Debt
Andrei Stanescu/istockphoto

Leveraged Learning

Student loans remain a crushing burden for plenty of college students and graduates. According to a LendEDU analysis of loan data from more than 1,000 schools, the problem just keeps getting worse: The average Class of 2018 borrower’s debt rose to $28,565 in 2018, up from $28,288 in 2017. Moreover, borrowers in 38 states saw an uptick last year, especially in Connecticut, where 2018 grads’ debt burden grew a whopping 22.5%. Wondering where your state ranks? Read on to find out.

Editor's note: This story has been revised since publication.

Related: The Cost of College Around the World

Utah
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51. Utah

Average debt per borrower: $19,742
Percent change since 2017: 7.15%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 36%
Utah boasts seven schools among the top 250 for lowest average debt per student borrower, according to LendEDU's analysis, including its best performer, Brigham Young University. Students there graduated with an average of only $15,701 in debt in 2018.

Santa Fe, NM
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50. New Mexico

Average debt per borrower: $22,115
Percent change since 2017: 1.42%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 52%
New Mexico has two schools among the top 250 for lowest average debt per student borrower, including New Mexico Highlands University. Students there graduated with an average of only $18,767 in debt in 2018. However, students at St. John's College were among the nation's most burdened, graduating with an average of $44,989 in debt.

Fairbanks, Alaska
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49. Alaska

Average debt per borrower: $22,155
Percent change since 2017: -12.6%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 38%
Alaska's only school to stand out in LendEDU's analysis was the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, which was among the top 250 schools for lowest average debt per student borrower. Students there graduated with an average of $22,155 in debt in 2018.

California
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48. California

Average debt per borrower: $22,530
Percent change since 2017: 0.66%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 49%
California has a staggering 33 schools among the top 250 for lowest average debt per student borrower. The best performer: San Francisco State, where students graduated with an average of only $6,069 in debt in 2018. However, California also had a half-dozen schools among those with the highest debt.

Nevada
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47. Nevada

Average debt per borrower: $22,600
Percent change since 2017: 2.61%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 51%
Nevada's only school to stand out was the University of Nevada, Reno, which was among the top 250 schools for lowest average debt per student borrower. Students there graduated with an average of $22,600 in debt in 2018.

Washington
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46. Washington

Average debt per borrower: $23,671
Percent change since 2017: 1.34%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 50%
Washington counts eight schools among the top 250 for lowest average debt per student borrower, including University of Washington, Tacoma. Students there graduated with an average of only $15,601 in debt in 2018.

Arizona
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45. Arizona

Average debt per borrower: $23,748
Percent change since 2017: -0.69%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 60%
Arizona's only school to stand out was Northern Arizona University, which was among the top 250 schools for lowest average debt per student borrower. Students there graduated with an average of $23,685 in debt in 2018.

Wyoming
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44. Wyoming

Average debt per borrower: $24,474
Percent change since 2017: 8.66%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 46%
Wyoming's only school to stand out was the University of Wyoming, which was among the top 250 schools for lowest average debt per student borrower. Students there graduated with an average of $24,474 in debt in 2018.

Honolulu, Hawaii
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43. Hawaii

Average debt per borrower: $24,503
Percent change since 2017: -1.81%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 48%
Two Hawaii schools make the top 250 for lowest average student debt: Chaminade University of Honolulu, where students graduated in 2018 with an average of $23,933 in debt, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where the number was $24,593.

Sarasota, Florida
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42. Florida

Average debt per borrower: $24,664
Percent change since 2017: 4.7%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 50%
Florida has nine schools among the top 250 for lowest average debt per student borrower, including the New College of Florida. Students there graduated with an average of only $17,466 in debt in 2018. It also has six schools in the top 250 for highest average debt, however. Atop that list: Ringling College of Art and Design, where students graduated with an average of $41,746 in debt.

Denver, Colorado
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41. Colorado

Average debt per borrower: $24,884
Percent change since 2017: -6.67%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 52%

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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40. Oklahoma

Average debt per borrower: $25,246
Percent change since 2017: -3.9%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 47%

North Carolina
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39. North Carolina

Average debt per borrower: $26,129
Percent change since 2017: -0.13%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 55%

Lincoln, Nebraska
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38. Nebraska

Average debt per borrower: $26,225
Percent change since 2017: 2.84%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 55%

Kansas
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37. Kansas

Average debt per borrower: $26,514
Percent change since 2017: -3.95%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 59%

University of Arkansas
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36. Arkansas

Average debt per borrower: $26,571
Percent change since 2017: 0.04%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 53%

Nashville, Tennessee
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35. Tennessee

Average debt per borrower: $26,840
Percent change since 2017: 7.12%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 55%

North Dakota
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34. North Dakota

Average debt per borrower: $26,844
Percent change since 2017: 2.93%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 60%

Texas
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33. Texas

Average debt per borrower: $27,342
Percent change since 2017: 1.26%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 56%

New Orleans
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32. Louisiana

Average debt per borrower: $27,487
Percent change since 2017: 2.53%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 47%

Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg, Idaho
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31. Idaho

Average debt per borrower: $27,686
Percent change since 2017: 4.07%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 62%

Billings, Montana
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30. Montana

Average debt per borrower: $28,039
Percent change since 2017: -1.23%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 56%

Louisville, Kentucky
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29. Kentucky

Average debt per borrower: $28,438
Percent change since 2017: 1.28%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 60%

Portland, Oregon
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28. Oregon

Average debt per borrower: $28,627
Percent change since 2017: 3.91%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 55%

Columbus, Ohio
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27. Ohio

Average debt per borrower: $28,947
Percent change since 2017: -2.61%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 63%

Indianapolis, IN
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26. Indiana

Average debt per borrower: $29,189
Percent change since 2017: -0.73%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 56%

Athens, Georgia
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25. Georgia

Average debt per borrower: $29,220
Percent change since 2017: 2.97%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 55%

Missouri
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24. Missouri

Average debt per borrower: $29,223
Percent change since 2017: 8.9%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 58%

Birmingham, Alabama
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23. Alabama

Average debt per borrower: $29,564
Percent change since 2017: -7.21%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 50%

Baltimore
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22. Maryland

Average debt per borrower: $29,674
Percent change since 2017: 2.88%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 54%

Chicago
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21. Illinois

Average debt per borrower: $29,692
Percent change since 2017: 4.46%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 65%

Iowa
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20. Iowa

Average debt per borrower: $29,821
Percent change since 2017: 1.39%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 62%

West Virginia
Source: Wikimedia Commons

19. West Virginia

Average debt per borrower: $30,307
Percent change since 2017: 9.78%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 65%

Charlottesville, VA
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18. Virginia

Average debt per borrower: $30,382
Percent change since 2017: 3.64%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 57%

Columbia, South Carolina
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17. South Carolina

Average debt per borrower: $30,861
Percent change since 2017: 1.82%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 57%

Oxford, Mississippi
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16. Mississippi

Average debt per borrower: $30,938
Percent change since 2017: 2.22%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 57%

Wisconsin
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15. Wisconsin

Average debt per borrower: $31,051
Percent change since 2017: 5.01%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 63%

Maine
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14. Maine

Average debt per borrower: $31,213
Percent change since 2017: 2.94%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 55%

Vermont
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13. Vermont

Average debt per borrower: $31,432
Percent change since 2017: 5.99%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 62%

New York City
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12. New York

Average debt per borrower: $31,523
Percent change since 2017: 0.06%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 63%

Michigan
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11. Michigan

Average debt per borrower: $31,679
Percent change since 2017: 2.26%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 58%

South Dakota
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10. South Dakota

Average debt per borrower: $31,893
Percent change since 2017: 1.79%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 72%
None of South Dakota's schools are in the top 250 for lowest student debt, but it does have two schools in the top 250 for highest debt: Mount Marty College, where 2018 grads averaged $38,026 in debt; and Augustana University, where the number was $38,588.

Minneapolis
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9. Minnesota

Average debt per borrower: $31,911
Percent change since 2017: 2.18%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 67%
While three Minnesota schools are among the top 250 for lowest debt load per graduate (Carleton College's 2018 grads had an average $21,020 debt) the state has 11 schools among the top 250 for highest debt, too. Students at The College of St. Scholastica graduated with an average $42,183 in debt in 2018.

Boston
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8. Massachusetts

Average debt per borrower: $31,939
Percent change since 2017: 1.98%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 58%
Thirteen Massachusetts schools are in the top 250 for lowest debt load per graduate, including leader Harvard University. Students there graduated owing an average $13,372 in 2018. But it also has 17 schools in the top 250 for highest debt. Worst among them is Western New England University, where students graduated with an average $46,591 in debt.

New Jersey
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7. New Jersey

Average debt per borrower: $33,593
Percent change since 2017: 9.09%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 64%
Lucky Princeton University students graduated with an average of just $9,059 in debt in 2018. But New Jersey also claims eight of the nation's top 250 schools for highest debt.

Washington, D.C.
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6. Washington, D.C.

Average debt per borrower: $34,033
Percent change since 2017: 14.23%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 47%

Georgetown University landed in the top 250 for least in-debt graduates, with grads averaging $25,726 in debt in 2018. But Catholic University of America was among the highest-debt schools, with graduates shouldering an average of $46,437 in debt.

Delaware
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5. Delaware

Average debt per borrower: $34,144
Percent change since 2017: 0%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 62%
While none of Delaware's schools made the top 250 for most or least in-debt graduates, the University of Delaware is among the top 150 highest-debt public schools. Students there graduated with an average of $34,144 in debt in 2018.

Philadelphia, PA
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4. Pennsylvania

Average debt per borrower: $35,510
Percent change since 2017: -1.89%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 66%
While Pennsylvania has six schools in the top 250 for lowest average debt (Haverford College checks in at just $11,000 in average debt per 2018 graduate) it has a staggering 54 schools in the top 250 for highest debt load. The most burdened students graduated from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania with an average of $52,243 in debt.

Rhode Island
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3. Rhode Island

Average debt per borrower: $36,121
Percent change since 2017: $2.12%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 65%
None of Rhode Island's schools made the top 250 for lowest average debt per student borrower. It did have three schools among the top 250 for the highest average debt, including Bryant University, No. 2 on the list overall. Students there graduated with a painful average $54,067 in debt in 2018.

New Hampshire
Source: New Hampshire Public Radio

2. New Hampshire

Average debt per borrower: $36,754
Percent change since 2017: 9.84%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 76%
New Hampshire has six schools among the top 250 for highest average debt per borrower, including Franklin Pierce University, where the average debt load was $41,661 for 2018 graduates. Two schools were in the top 250 for lowest average debt per borrower, including Dartmouth College. Students there graduated with an average of $18,903 in debt.

Connecticut
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1. Connecticut

Average debt per borrower: $38,776
Percent change since 2017: 22.54%
Graduates with student-loan debt, 2018: 57%
Connecticut claims seven schools among the top 250 for highest average debt per borrower, including the University of New Haven, where the average debt load was $48,673 for 2018 graduates. Three schools were in the top 250 for lowest average debt per borrower, including Yale University. Students there graduated with an average of just $14,575 in debt.