Indiana │ Overall Rank: 10 │ Total Score: 56.53
Student Loan Indebtedness Rank: 10 │ Grant & Student Work Opportunities Rank: 20
9. Iowa │ Overall Rank: 9 │ Total Score: 59.09
Student Loan Indebtedness Rank: 8 │ Grant & Student Work Opportunities Rank: 28
8. Minnesota │ Overall Rank: 8 │ Total Score: 59.13
Student Loan Indebtedness Rank: 5 │ Grant & Student Work Opportunities Rank: 49

Minnesota has the fifth highest average student debt and is tied with Pennsylvania for fourth highest proportion of students with debt. It also has the second highest percentage of student-loan borrowers 50 and older.
7. Michigan │ Overall Rank: 7 │ Total Score: 60.28
Student Loan Indebtedness Rank: 9 │ Grant & Student Work Opportunities Rank: 12

Michigan has the fourth highest student debt as a percentage of income. (Photo: AP)
6. Mississippi │ Overall Rank: 6 │ Total Score: 62.22
Student Loan Indebtedness Rank: 7 │ Grant & Student Work Opportunities Rank: 9

Mississippi has the highest student debt as a percentage of income, the fourth highest unemployment rate for people aged 25 to 34 and the highest percentage of student-loan balances past due or in default.

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5. Ohio │ Overall Rank: 5 │ Total Score: 63.84
Student Loan Indebtedness Rank: 6 │ Grant & Student Work Opportunities Rank: 10
4. New Hampshire │ Overall Rank: 4 │ Total Score: 65.15
Student Loan Indebtedness Rank: 2 │ Grant & Student Work Opportunities Rank: 43

New Hampshire has the highest average student debt in the country and the third highest proportion of students with debt, as well as the third highest percentage of student-loan borrowers 50 and older.
3. Pennsylvania │ Overall Rank: 3 │ Total Score: 66.95
Student Loan Indebtedness Rank: 4 │ Grant & Student Work Opportunities Rank: 11

Pennsylvania has the second highest average student debt and is tied with Minnesota for the fourth highest proportion of students with debt.
2. West Virginia │ Overall Rank: 2 │ Total Score: 68.16
Student Loan Indebtedness Rank: 3 │ Grant & Student Work Opportunities Rank: 3

West Virginia has the highest proportion of students with debt and the second highest percentage of student-loan balances past due or in default.
1. South Dakota │ Overall Rank: 1 │ Total Score: 71.41
Student Loan Indebtedness Rank: 1 │ Grant & Student Work Opportunities Rank: 35

South Dakota has the second highest proportion of students with debt and the fourth highest percentage of student-loan borrowers 50 and older.

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(Related: Best & Worst 529 College Savings Plans of 2018: Morningstar)

It’s not just where you go to school that sets you up for a successful future, although of course that plays a major role.

According to WalletHub, where you plunk yourself down can play a big role after graduation, too. “Student-loan borrowers generally fare better in strong-economy states with low college-debt-to-income ratios,” the consumer finance site says in a report.

Considering how high so many of those college debts are — not only do they make up the biggest chunk of household debt for Americans after mortgages, but the total of outstanding college loans disclosed on credit reports totaled $1.41 trillion at the end of the first quarter of 2018, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York — it makes sense to head for places where the chance of success is greater.

WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 11 key measures of indebtedness and earning opportunities, considering data including average student debt to the unemployment rate among 25- to 34-year-olds to the share of borrowers with past-due loan balances.

When they were done, they scored each of the 51 locations in two main categories — where they fall on student-loan indebtedness and how highly they rank in grant and student work opportunities — and then gave each one an overall score.

Here are the 10 states where those carrying a load of debt will find it hardest to succeed — whether it’s the overall cost of living working against them or a high unemployment or underemployment rate. The overall rank category, running from 1 to 51, indicates how high or low each locale is, with 1 being the most student debt and 51 being the least.

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