Student debt is easier to manage in these U.S. states

Katie Krzaczek
·Associate Editor

The national student loan deficit topped $1.5 trillion in the summer of 2018.

And, according to a study from Student Loan Hero, location is an important factor when it comes to how bad the student debt repayment burden actually is.

The December 2017 study combined the cost of living, the average annual income, the average student loan balance, and the percentage of monthly income eaten up by student loan payments to rank U.S. states.

Student Loan Hero found that Utah, Washington, North Carolina, Colorado, and Texas were the best place for borrowers to live.

Student loan affordability ranked by state / David Foster / Yahoo Finance
Student loan affordability ranked by state / David Foster / Yahoo Finance

Hawaii is the worst state for student loan borrowers.

Nationwide, that average of disposable income used by student loans is around 14.6%. But in Hawaii, borrowers lose about 22.2% of their disposable income to loan payments. The state’s average annual income is $49,430, and borrowers in Hawaii average $27,822 in student loan balances.

Utah, by contrast, has an average loan balance of $18,969 and an average annual income of $45,490.

High loan balances don’t equal difficult repayment

Of the top 10 worst places to live with student loans, eight locations have average loan balances of more than $30,000 and higher-than-average costs of living.

Because Hawaii ranked the worst place to live for student borrowers, that doesn’t necessarily make it the state where students carry the highest debt loads. In fact, Hawaii didn’t crack the Top 10 when it comes to loan balances.

Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Washington D.C. are the three areas where borrowers leave school with the highest loans: $35,196, $35,143, and $33,650, respectively. They’re followed by Connecticut ($32,211), Rhode Island ($31,497), Alaska ($31,217), Minnesota ($31,198), Montana ($30,994), and Maine ($30,586).

And when you factor in the average annual income and cost of living, things balance out better in Minnesota than they do for those in the Capitol. (D.C. is ranked 41th while Minnesota is ranked 25.)

D.C. residents earn $82,950 on average, but borrowers there spend 17.68% of their disposable income on loan repayment. Minnesotans, meanwhile, earn $51,330 and spend an average of 14.99% on monthly loan payments.

Katie is an editor at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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