CT Has Nation’s Highest Average Rate of Student Debt, Topping $35,000 Per Borrower

In 2017, more than 44 million Americans are working to repay student debt.  Nowhere in the nation is the challenge and burden of student debt more acute than in Connecticut, which has the highest student-debt-per-borrower average in the United States. At $35,947, Connecticut’s average student loan debt outpaced the nation, where, on average, borrowers are working to repay more than $28,000 after graduation.  That’s according to student loan and refinancing marketplace website LendEDU.com’s recently released study and analysis.  LendEDU has pointed out that 59 percent of college graduates in the state have student loan debt. 

In addition to having the highest student-debt-per-borrower average, according to LendEDU’s analysis, Connecticut has the:

  • 12th highest percentage of graduates with debt (68%)
  • 29th highest default rate (5.66%)
  • 31st highest college enrollment (133,999)

Student loan debt is the second highest form of debt in the U.S., second only to mortgages, according to LendEDU.  In addition, nationwide:

  • Over 40% of borrowers have delayed starting a family because of their debt
  • Over 60% of borrowers have delayed buying a car because of their debt
  • Over 70% of borrowers have delayed saving for retirement because of their debt
  • Around 75% of borrowers have delayed buying a home because of their debt

In terms of average student debt, among the states with the highest levels, after Connecticut, are New Hampshire (#49), Pennsylvania (#48), Rhode Island (#47), Delaware (#46),  Massachusetts (#45), New Jersey (#44), Minnesota (#43), Iowa (#42), South Carolina (#41), and New York (#40).

At $42,912, the average student debt per borrower in Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District, is not only higher than the state average, but is the highest among Connecticut’s five congressional districts.

In the 1st Congressional District (Rep. John B. Larson) it’s $32,003; in the 2nd (Rep. Joe Courtney), $28,900 the 3rd (Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro), $38,255; and the 5th District (Rep. Elizabeth Esty), $20,246.

The portion of graduates with student debt in 4th District is 70% — tying with the 3rd District for second highest in the state. At 84 percent, the 5th Congressional District has the highest portion of graduates with debt in the state, while the 1st District has the lowest, at 52 percent.

While the student loan default rate in U.S. Rep. Jim Himes’s district (4.99%) is lower than the state average, it is the second highest in the state. The 5th District has the highest student loan default rate, at 11.84 percent, while the 3rd District has the lowest, at 3.73 percent.

The largest college going population is in the New Haven-centered 3rd Congressional district, with enrollment of 46,440 students, according to the website.  The 4th Congressional District has a total college enrollment of 21,537, just behind the 3rd District (46,440) and 5th District (22,451). The 2nd Congressional District has the smallest enrollment total in the state, at 11,605.

Among the state’s public colleges, the average student debt ranged from UConn’s $25,000 to Central Connecticut State University’s $27,920.  Among all the state’s colleges and universities, among those with the highest average debt levels are Quinnipiac University, Sacred Heart University, and University of New Haven, all in the top 10 nationally with average student debt exceeding $40,000.