GOBankingRates

A Look at Americans’ Student Loan Debt by State

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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in office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order extending the student loan relief portion of the CARES Act, originally enacted during the Trump administration.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: July 5, 2021

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50. Utah

  • Average student loan debt: $17,935
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 40%

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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%
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45. Wyoming

  • Average student loan debt: $23,444
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 46%
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44. Hawaii

  • Average student loan debt: $23,577
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 43%
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43. Florida

  • Average student loan debt: $24,629
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 48%
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42. Washington

  • Average student loan debt: $24,645
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 50%

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41. Arizona

  • Average student loan debt: $24,712
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 49%
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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%
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38. Alaska

  • Average student loan debt: $25,925
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 48%
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37. Idaho

  • Average student loan debt: $25,942
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 60%
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36. Nebraska

  • Average student loan debt: $26,026
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 57%
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35. Colorado

  • Average student loan debt: $26,562
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 50%
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34. North Carolina

  • Average student loan debt: $26,583
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 55%
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33. Arkansas

  • Average student loan debt: $26,679
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 53%
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32. Kansas

  • Average student loan debt: $26,788
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 60%
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31. Texas

  • Average student loan debt: $26,951
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 48%

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30. Montana

  • Average student loan debt: $27,265
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 57%

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29. Tennessee

  • Average student loan debt: $27,525
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 60%
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28. Oregon

  • Average student loan debt: $27,542
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 54%
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27. Georgia

  • Average student loan debt: $28,081
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 56%
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26. Indiana

  • Average student loan debt: $28,112
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 59%
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25. Kentucky

  • Average student loan debt: $28,482
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 58%
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24. Missouri

  • Average student loan debt: $28,740
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 57%
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23. West Virginia

  • Average student loan debt: $29,272
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 67%
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22. Illinois

  • Average student loan debt: $29,666
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 61%
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21. Alabama

  • Average student loan debt: $29,791
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 50%
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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%
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18. Vermont

  • Average student loan debt: $30,566
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 60%
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17. Virginia

  • Average student loan debt: $30,574
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 56%
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16. Michigan

  • Average student loan debt: $30,677
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 59%
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15. New York

  • Average student loan debt: $31,155
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 58%
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14. South Carolina

  • Average student loan debt: $31,524
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 60%
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13. Wisconsin

  • Average student loan debt: $31,550
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 64%
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12. Mississippi

  • Average student loan debt: $31,651
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 55%
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11. South Dakota

  • Average student loan debt: $31,653
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 74%
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10. Minnesota

  • Average student loan debt: $31,856
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 66%
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9. North Dakota

  • Average student loan debt: $32,745
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 64%
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8. Massachusetts

  • Average student loan debt: $33,256
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 55%

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7. New Jersey

  • Average student loan debt: $33,566
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 64%
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6. Maine

  • Average student loan debt: $33,591
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 67%
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5. Delaware

  • Average student loan debt: $37,447
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 59%
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4. Rhode Island

  • Average student loan debt: $37,614
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 59%
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3. Connecticut

  • Average student loan debt: $38,546
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 56%
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2. Pennsylvania

  • Average student loan debt: $39,027
  • Percentage of people with student loan debt: 65%
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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.