Seven in 10 seniors who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2014 had student loan debt, with an average of $28,950 per borrower, according to the Institute for College Access & Success.

WalletHub recently looked at the average student debt of each state and the District of Columbia – as well as a number of other factors – to determine 2016’s Best and Worst States for Student Debt.

“Location, location, location are the three most important words in real estate — and in education,” according to WalletHub. “Indeed, where you live doesn’t just affect the value of your property; it also reflects the worth of your college degree, the same degree that may have put you in debt.”

(For some better picks: 10 Best States for Paying Off Student Debt.)

WalletHub’s analysts compared each state across two key dimensions: student loan indebtedness and grant and work opportunities for students.

Student loan indebtedness was ranked based on a state’s average student debt, proportion of students with debt, student debt as a percentage of income, percentage of student loans in past-due or default status, and percentage of student-loan borrowers age 50 and older.

Meanwhile, grant and work opportunities were scored based on states’ unemployment rate for people aged 25 to 34, availability of student jobs, availability of paid internships, and availability of grants.

(Related: 30 Best Paying College Majors: 2016)

Data used to create these rankings were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Institute for College Access & Success, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Council for Community and Economic Research, U.S. Department of Education College Affordability & Transparency Center, Internships.com and Indeed.

Based on WalletHub’s analysis, these 10 states are the least friendly toward student loan debtors:

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. (Photo: AP)

10. Ohio

Overall rank: 42

Total score: 49.21

Student loan indebtedness rank: 43

Grant and work opportunities for students rank: 20

The average student debt is $29,353 in Ohio, and the proportion of students with debt is 67%. Ohio also has a high percentage of student loan borrowers age 50 and older at 8.2%.

Mississippi flags at State Capitol in Jackson. (Photo: AP)

9. Mississippi

Overall rank: 43

Total score: 48.76

Student loan indebtedness rank: 40

Grant and work opportunities for students rank: 34

Mississippi has the second highest percentage of student loans past due or in default at 16.3%. The average student loan debt is $26,177 in Mississippi, and the proportion of student with debt is 60%.

The Corbin Covered Bridge in Newport, New Hampshire. (Photo: AP)

8. New Hampshire

Overall rank: 44

Total score: 47.61

Student loan indebtedness rank: 47

Grant and work opportunities for students rank: 8

New Hampshire has the highest proportion of students with debt at 76%, which is 1.7 times higher than in Wyoming, where the proportion is lowest at 46%. The average student debt amount is $33,410 in New Hampshire.

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk (Photo: AP)

7. South Carolina

Overall rank: 45

Total score: 47.14

Student loan indebtedness rank: 44

Grant and work opportunities for students rank: 42

South Carolina has among the highest student debt as a percentage of income (adjusted for cost of living) at 53.88%, which is the fourth highest of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The average student debt in South Carolina is $29,163.

Skier on the slopes at a Killington Resort. (Photo: AP)

6. Vermont

Overall rank: 46

Total score: 46.43

Student loan indebtedness rank: 48

Grant and work opportunities for students rank: 4

In Vermont, the average student loan debt is $29,060 with the proportion of students with debt at 65%. Vermont has the lowest percentage of student loans in past-due or default status at 7.89%. However it has the highest percentage of student loan borrowers age 50 or older at 10.33%.

Civil War Museum in Harrisburg. (Photo: AP)

5. Pennsylvania

Overall rank: 47

Total score: 46.03

Student loan indebtedness rank: 45

Grant and work opportunities for students rank: 29

The average student debt in Pennsylvania is $33,264, which is one of the top five highest amounts. The proportion of students with debt is also high at 70%. The percentage of student loans past due or in default is lower in Pennsylvania than the other worst states for student debt at 10.2%.

Lobster boats in Portland.

4. Maine

Overall rank: 48

Total score: 44.10

Student loan indebtedness rank: 46

Grant and work opportunities for students rank: 40

In Maine, the average student debt is $30,908 and the proportion of students with debt is 68%. The student debt as a percentage of income (adjusted for cost of living) is 46% in Maine.

Portland Rose Festival Dragon Boat Race in Tom McCall Waterfront Park. (Photo: AP)

3. Oregon

Overall rank: 49

Total score: 42.95

Student loan indebtedness rank: 50

Grant and work opportunities for students rank: 15

The average student debt in Oregon is $26,106, and the proportion of students with debt is 62%. Oregon has the second highest student debt as a percentage of adjusted income at 62.06%.

Charleston skyline.

2. West Virginia

Overall rank: 50

Total score: 39.37

Student loan indebtedness rank: 49

Grant and work opportunities for students rank: 50

West Virginia has the highest percentage of student loans in past-due or default status at 18.36%. This is 2.3 times higher than Vermont, which has the lowest. The average student debt in West Virginia is $26,854.

Washington, D.C. Skyline.

1. District of Columbia

Overall rank: 51

Total score: 36.73

Student loan indebtedness rank: 51

Grant and work opportunities for students rank: 6

The District of Columbia has the highest student debt as a percentage of income (adjusted for cost of living) at 67.47%, which is 2.3 times higher than Wyoming which has the lowest. D.C. also has one of the highest percentages of student-loan borrowers age 50 and older at 8.29%.

Despite its high levels of debt, the District has a wide availability of student jobs and paid internships. According to WalletHub, the availability of student jobs per 1,000 16- to 24-year-old civilians in the labor force is 39.36, the highest of all the states.

— Related on ThinkAdvisor:

Save

Save