Connecticut Has Nation's Highest Average Student Loan Debt, Analysis Shows

The average student debt in Connecticut is higher than any state in the nation, according to a new analysis.  The latest annual report from The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS), a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization focused on making higher education more affordable, looked at the Class of 2017 broken down by the state in which they graduated college. The average student debt in Connecticut was $38,510, just ahead of Pennsylvania ($36,854), Rhode Island ($36,250), New Hampshire ($34,415), Delaware ($34,144), New Jersey ($32,247) and Massachusetts ($32.065).  On the other end of the scale are Utah ($18,838), New Mexico ($21,237) and Nevada ($22.064).

As the data reflects, the highest student debt is in states located in the Northeast. There are only two states from the Deep South where average debt tops $30,000, Alabama and Mississippi, and none are from the West Coast. States in the West produce graduates with average debt burdens of only $19-25,000, substantially less.

Nationally, about two in three graduating seniors had student loans. Their average debt was $28,650, about 1 percent higher than the Class of 2016. New graduates’ likelihood of having debt varied from 38 percent (Utah) to 74 percent.  In Connecticut, it is 57 percent.

In all but 8 states, 50 percent or more graduates are saddled with debt of some amount. New Hampshire, South Dakota and West Virginia are tied for having the greatest percentage of indebted graduates (74%). Utah takes first place as the most affordable where only 38 percent of students leave owing student loans.

Between 1996 and 2012, federal data on bachelor’s degree recipients show that the average debt of borrowers increased steadily, according to the study, at an average of 4 percent per year. It has edged higher only slightly in recent years.

(Infographic by howmuch.)