Highest Average Student Loan Debt in US is in Connecticut, Analysis Finds

Utah has the lowest average student debt among the 50 states, at $18,838. That is two times lower than in Connecticut, the state with the highest, at $38,510.

Following Connecticut with the highest average student debt are Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Delaware.  States with the lowest levels of average student debt are California, Wyoming, Nevada, New Mexico, along with Utah.


National data indicates that 10.9 percent of all student-loan debts are 90+ days delinquent or in default as of the first quarter of 2019. Save for mortgages, student loans make up the largest component of household debt for Americans. At the end of the first quarter of 2018, total outstanding college-loan balances disclosed on credit reports stood at $1.49 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

A new analysis from the personal finance website WalletHub finds that not all states are equal when it comes to the burden of student loans. With student-loan debtors in mind, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 12 key measures of indebtedness and earning opportunities. Average student debt was one of those 12 categories.

The percentage of Connecticut students with debt – 57% – ranked 24th among the states.  Connecticut also ranked 39th in the availability of student jobs and 35th in the availability of paid internships.

When all the categories were considered, Connecticut was ranked 15th overall among the states in student debt burden.  Highest on the student debt scale were residents of South Dakota, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Michigan, Rhode Island, Delaware, Kansas, Indiana, New Jersey, just ahead of Connecticut.

Among the data categories used to determine the rankings: average student debt, share of students with debt, student debt as share of income, share of student loans in past-due or default status, and share of Federal student loan borrowers enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan.  In the area of Grant & Student Work Opportunities, the data sets used include unemployment rate among population aged 25-34, underemployment rate, availability of student jobs, availability of paid internships, grant growth; and presence of a “Student Loan Ombudsmen” law.

Connecticut had the second highest share of federal student loan borrowers enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan, at just under 15%, and the eighth highest share of student loan borrowers aged 50 and older, at 8 percent, according to the data reviewed by WalletHub. 

The analysis also found that Massachusetts has the lowest share of student loans in past-due or default status, 7.58 percent, which is 2.4 times lower than in Mississippi, the state with the highest at 18.34 percent.