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Student loan debt is crippling, but some states have it worse than others.

3 minute read

Americans are facing $1.4 trillion in student loan debt — and that number keeps growing.

But where you live might be an indicator of how much worse (or better) off you are than other places. A study from GoBankingRates found that northern states have some of the highest student loan debt in the country. In New Hampshire, 74 percent of college graduates are in debt. These are the Top 5 states where college grads have the most student loan debt…

  • New Hampshire: 74 percent
  • Pennsylvania: 68 percent
  • Connecticut:  60 percent
  • Delaware: 63 percent
  • Minnesota: 68 percent

Breaking down student debt by state

Utah has the lowest percentage of graduates with student loan debt, with 43 percent. They also have the lowest average student loan debt of $19,975. That’s compared to New Hampshire where the average student loan debt is $36,367.

While the percentage of graduates may vary among the top states, the average amount of debt they hold doesn’t always match up. Minnesota has 68 percent of graduates with debt while their average is $31,915. Meanwhile in Connecticut, the typical student loan debt is more than $35,000 — and 60 percent of college grads have outstanding student loan debt.

Maine, No. 8 on the list, is the state with some of the most expensive colleges in the country. Alabama — the only Southern state to make the list — placed ninth. Rhode Island rounded out the Top 10. Here, 61 percent of graduates have student loan debt.

While these states are averaging some of the highest costs and debt, Washington, D.C. has some of the largest student loan debt. There, the highest percentage of borrowers have more than $100,000 in student loan debt (9.8 percent).

The long-lasting effects of student loan debt

Student loan debt is crippling both graduates and parents alike, as many families are contributing to paying it down. With $1.4 trillion in student loan debt spread across the country, Americans are facing a slew of hardships due to so much debt from attending college.

For new grads, not securing a decent salary means you could fall behind on important bills, like student loans. This is detrimental to your credit, as your credit score could tank from delinquent accounts.

Low credit scores impact everything you do, from getting a new car to completing a rent application. Tight salaries, paired with dropping credit, is a major reason why millennials aren’t buying homes. Rising rents and low wages mean young people can’t save any extra cash to go toward a down payment on a home. As the housing market stays hot, only those who have the money are given top priority when buying a home.

If you’re having trouble making ends meet, including student loan payments, there are a few options for you. First, review your budget — including all your necessary bills, housing costs, and take-home pay — to make sure everything can get paid on time every month. Make sure your minimum student loan payments are listed.

Depending on your loans, look into income-driven repayment plans to help you only pay what you can afford. Explore refinancing and consolidation to see if those are good options for your situation. You might qualify for deferment or forbearance — options that temporarily halt payments without hurting your credit.

Don’t just do nothing; as long as you’re working to stay out of financial trouble, your credit score can stay afloat. Finding a second job or side-hustle to earn a little extra money could help pay off loans that your day job might not be able to help with. Regardless of what you choose, don’t ignore your student loans.

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About the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn is a full-time freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She’s president of Blossomers Media, Inc., a web development and online media consulting company. Along with her work on, she’s been a longtime freelancer for Money Talks News — a personal and consumer finance website — and South Florida Gay News — the largest weekly LGBT newspaper in the South.Zinn has written for a variety of other publications, including Huffington Post, The Week, Quartz, Fort Lauderdale Magazine, Indulge, and

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