The Best and Worst States For Student Loans

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When it comes to your student loan payments, it’s easy to focus on how big the total is. But a new analysis shows that where you cut those hefty checks counts, too—with some states offering better climates to pay back your college debt while making a buck.

That’s right—not all states are created equal when it comes to paying back loans. Think of it this way: “New York City, for instance, might boast a high average salary for a certain profession,” WalletHub writes in its newest report, “but the high cost of living could still outweigh the gains, leaving little to pay off student debt.”

In other words, living in a state with a bevy of high-paying jobs may not help someone if the cost of living is so high—or the availability of aid is so low—that she can’t pay her bills.

To determine the best states for debtors to pay off their student loans, WalletHub crunched numbers on the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on nine key metrics—think: how many residents have student debt and what percentage of their incomes is eaten up by debt payments, plus the state’s unemployment rate, availability of jobs, and the availability of grants that could provide financial relief.

The analysts found that Utah residents have the lowest average student debt and the second-lowest student loan debt as a percentage of income. And with a low unemployment for young adults ages 21 to 34 to boot, it tops WalletHub’s list as the place to be if you’ve got student debt. As you could expect, many of the places that are best for achieving financial freedom are also not necessarily the most popular among recent graduates.

Looking at WalletHub’s list, it’s easy to see that Western states seem to offer the biggest advantages to student loan debtors. In addition to Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, and Nevada make the top five—with New Mexico snagging the No. 10 spot. On the flip side, Northeastern states round out the bottom of WalletHub’s list, with Washington, D.C., coming in dead last, preceded closely by West Virginia, Maine, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and New Hampshire in the last 10 slots.

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Source: Glamour | Jillian Kramer