College debt is like an annoying blemish on your transcript or resume — it tends to follow you around no matter where you go. While most studies still show that a college degree is worth the cost, student loans can hinder young adults from building a secure financial future. However, some states make the wealth-building process easier than others.
Debt is a prerequisite for the majority of college graduates. According to the Project on Student Debt, 71% of college students borrow money to cover education costs, with an average balance around $30,000 per graduate. Most of these obligations are currently being met, but more than 650,000 federal student loan borrowers who entered repayment in 2011 defaulted on their loans by 2013. In fact, 13.7% of borrowers across the nation defaulted within three years of entering repayment.
Relocating to a different state may be the simplest method to lessen the burden of student debt. Schools.com recently ranked the best states for graduates to repay student loans and achieve financial success based on average salary, cost of living, unemployment rate, state-level student debt statistics, student debt-to-income ratio, likelihood of having debt, and student default rates. Let’s take a look at the top 10 states.
Texas ranks in the top five nationally for adjusted income and in the top 10 for its good debt-to-income ratio. The state also offers hundreds of colleges, allowing students to find a degree program for their needs and budget.
Kansas has strength when it comes to low unemployment rates and low cost of living rates. The state ranks in the top 20 nationally for adjusted income, and in the top 15 for its debt-to-income ratio. Kansas has the lowest student loan default rate in the nation.
Only a little more than half of Colorado’s citizens have student loan debt, below the national average and among the top 10 in the nation. Colorado also ranks well on adjusted income and debt-to-income ratio.
Despite its high cost of living, California has low student debt amounts per borrower and a top 10 ranking for the percentage of borrowers who have student loans. Students also have debt-to-income ratios that are below the national average.
Tennessee has some of the lowest student loan amounts in the country. The state offers residents a top 10 ranking for student loan debt-to-income ratio, and a top 15 ranking for annual adjusted income. Furthermore, Tennessee’s cost of living is below the national average.
More than half of Virginia residents carry student loan debt, and their total amounts owed are above the national average, but the state ranks near the top in terms of annual adjusted income with the help of a strong economy and decent cost of living. Virginia is in the top 10 nationally for debt-to-income ratio.
Nevada ranks near the top for the least amount of average student debt, which helps keep it in the top five nationally for the lowest debt-to-income ratio. Furthermore, Nevada is well below average when it comes to the number of residents who have outstanding student loans.
Residents in Washington have the highest adjusted annual income in the nation. Although more than half of the population carries student loan debt, the default rate is below the national average. Washington also has no state income tax.
Wyoming benefits from both low unemployment rates and cost of living. The state ranks second nationally for student debt-to-income ratio, and less than half of the population has student loan debt. Average student loan amounts are below the national average, and the state ranks in the top six nationally for adjusted annual earnings.
Utah tops the ranking with the help of its overall employment and student loan conditions. The state has one of the highest average incomes nationally, low unemployment rates, and the cost of living is below the national average. Only half of the population carries any student debt. Ranking in the top five nationally for student debt-to-income ratio, Utah’s default rates are below the national average.
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