Nov 17, 2017

Top 5 U.S. States with Student Loan Debt

In 2015, the average student debt for college graduates in the United States was $35,000, which was up 6% from 2014. According to, the class of 2015 saw the most student in U.S. history and were part of 70% of all students who graduated. Average student debt jumped another $2,000 in 2016 in the U.S., and with a total increase of $31 billion in student loan debt in quarter 4 of 2016. As of September 2017, the total student debt number is more than $1.45 trillion in student loan debt from 44 million Americans (

Average student debt is increasing at staggering amounts, especially compared to the increase in education quality in U.S. states. Of the top 5 states with the most student debt, only 2 are listed in the top 20 states for higher education ( This article will provide which U.S. states have the most student debt, their SmartAsset 2017 education score (1-50; 1 is best, 50 is worst), and popular loan forgiveness programs by state (via

5) Rhode Island
(CNBC) Percentage of graduates with debt: 64%
(CNBC) Average Debt
: $32,900
( Education Ranking
: 22
Rhode Island offers three student loan forgiveness programs for recent graduates: Primary Care Practitioner Loan Forgiveness Program (up to $80,000), Health Professional Loan Repayment Program (varies), and Nurse Educators Loan Forgiveness Program (up to $5,000 per year for 4 years).

4) Delaware
Percentage of graduates with debt: 65%
Average Debt: $33,800
Education Ranking: 3
Delaware only has one student loan forgiveness program: the Delaware State Loan Repayment Program (up to $100,000).

3) Connecticut
Percentage of graduates with debt: 64%
Average Debt: $34,700
Education Ranking: 12
Connecticut is one of three U.S. states that doesn’t offer any state-specific student loan forgiveness programs, despite being one of the worst states for student debt.

2) Pennsylvania
Percentage of graduates with debt: 71%
Average Debt: $34,800
Education Ranking: 27
Pennsylvania offers two programs to students: Pennsylvania Primary Care Loan Repayment Program (up to $100,000), and Pennsylvania Bar Foundation PA IOLTA Board Loan Repayment Assistance Program (varies).

1) New Hampshire
Percentage of graduates with debt: 76%
Average Debt: $36,100
Education Ranking: 33
New Hampshire offers two programs to students: New Hampshire State Loan Repayment Program (up to $75,000), and New Hampshire Bar Foundation Loan Forgiveness Program (varies).


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