Which states have highest student loan payments?

Concerns also growing over $37 billion in graduate school debt

Student loan payments are highest in the Northeast, according to a first-of-its-kind LendEDU survey of nearly 150,000 student loans.

Massachusetts averages the highest monthly student loan payment, $229.02, followed by New Jersey ($225.56), Connecticut ($225.26), New York ($223.10), and California ($221.17), the survey found.

Wyoming had the lowest average monthly payment, $176.46, followed by Idaho ($176.98), Nevada ($190.57), South Dakota ($191.74), and Louisiana ($192.62). The national average is $210.73, and the payoff time is 11.30 years.

Utah had the quickest predicted student loan payoff time (8.14 years) while New Hampshire had the longest (14.40 years).

More from UB: Here’s your student loan cohort default rate update

Meanwhile, concerns is growing over the $37 billion in debt owed by graduate students—a problem “no one is talking about,” according to a new report by the Center for American Progress. That figure accounts for 40% of all debt owed by college students, the report found.

“There is growing evidence that the current debt system, which allows graduate students to borrow an essentially uncapped amount at rather expensive rates, is unsustainable for many borrowers,” the author of the report, Ben Miller, wrote.

Map by LendEDU

“These problems are different from the issues in undergraduate education, which include high default rates and worries that students with debt but without a degree are likely to struggle,” Miller wrote. “Rather, the problems with graduate student debt concern whether debt levels are manageable or likely to drag down borrowers for years, if not decades.”

Solutions suggested by the report include enacting price caps, judging programs on a debt-to-earnings rate, and tackling specific credentials by eliminating a year of law school or ensuring that credentials required for teaching or social work are affordable based on what graduates will make.

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Experts say colleges and universities can create more responsible borrowers by making earlier and more frequent contact with students, rather than simply conducting federally mandated loan counseling prior to graduation, University Business reported this month.

“Every borrower and financial situation is different,” Betsy Mayotte, president and founder of The Institute of Student Loan Advisors, told UB. “The rules are the same, but having someone sit down and go over your particular situation to help you make borrowing or repayment decisions can be invaluable.”

Many colleges and universities now require students to sign a formal agreement stating they must pay tuition, UB reported in October.

The documents should make students aware of what they owe and exactly what happens if they don’t pay by a certain date.

At the University of Cincinnati, the main focus of these agreements is “the student agreeing that they are personally responsible for the debt associated with tuition, fees and miscellaneous charges posted to their account,” Ken Wolterman, bursar at the University of Cincinnati, told UB in 2017. “Our relationship is with them, not their parents.”

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Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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