The Best and Worst States for Student Debt in 2015

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How long does it take to pay off student loans? That depends in part on where debtors end up after graduation, according to WalletHub.

WalletHub’s state-by-state analysis of student loan debt, released today, found that student-loan borrowers fare better in states with:

  • Lower college-related debt levels
  • Stronger economies
  • Higher incomes

According to WalletHub:

Despite the evidence that income potential rises and chances of joblessness decline with more schooling, many graduates entering the labor market are learning the hard way that a college degree can’t guarantee financial security. Post-college success depends on numerous factors, an important one being where the graduate chooses to put down roots.

Utah fared best in WalletHub’s analysis, and Mississippi fared worst.

The analysis is based on data from federal agencies, state agencies and the nonprofit Institute for College Access & Success. The rankings of the 50 states and District of Columbia were determined based on how they scored in seven categories.

The category weighted most heavily was student debt as a percentage of median household income. Other heavily weighted categories included the unemployment rate for people who are 25 to 34 years old, and the percentage of student-loan borrowers who are 50 or older.

The best states for student debt are:

  • Utah
  • Wyoming
  • North Dakota
  • Washington
  • Nebraska
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Minnesota
  • Colorado
  • South Dakota

The worst states are:

  • Oregon
  • West Virginia
  • Alabama
  • New York
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Maine
  • Connecticut
  • Rhode Island
  • Mississippi

Student loans constitute one of the four most common forms of debt in America, according to a recent report from the Pew Charitable Trusts. More than 20 percent of Americans carry such debt.

Do you believe location has affected how you or anyone you know has been able to pay down student-loan obligations? Share your thoughts in our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.

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