States with the most and least student debt | Smart Change: Personal Finance

In the late 1980s, a high school graduate who wanted to attend college or university was looking at an average tuition of $15,160 per year for a private, nonprofit school and $3,190 per year for a public college or university. As of 2021, that number had ballooned to $37,600 for private, nonprofit colleges and $9,400 for public schools. Once the cost of books, room and board, and other fees are added in, paying for college with a part-time or summer job is increasingly becoming a thing of the past.

Today’s students are instead turning to loans, leading to a widespread debt crisis. Americans currently owe a collective $1.58 trillion in student loans, changing the shape and trajectory of the US economy. Instead of buying cars or houses, many millennials are focused on finding jobs that will enable them to make loan payments without defaulting.

Some states are taking steps to help by adopting a Student Borrower Bill of Rights and offering a variety of scholarships and loan repayment programs for qualified graduates. In New York in 2017, for example, New York announced a scholarship program that would provide free tuition at public colleges to residents whose families make less than $125,000 a year.

Stacker looked at 2022 data from the Federal Reserve of New York to determine where student debt is hitting the nation the hardest. In the case of a tie, we looked at the number of borrowers in all tied states.

Read on to see where your state falls on the list.

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