10. Nevada │ Overall Rank: 42 │ Total Score: 35.40
Student Loan Indebtedness Rank: 43 │ Grant & Student Work Opportunities Rank: 4

Nevada has the fifth lowest average student debt and the second lowest percentage of student-loan debtors 50 and older, but the fifth highest percentage of student-loan balances past due or in default.
9. Maryland │ Overall Rank: 43 │ Total Score: 34.36
Student Loan Indebtedness Rank: 42 │ Grant & Student Work Opportunities Rank: 44

Maryland has the fifth lowest student debt as a percentage of income.
8. Florida │ Overall Rank: 44 │ Total Score: 32.74
Student Loan Indebtedness Rank: 45 │ Grant & Student Work Opportunities Rank: 15
8. Alaska: 58.24 | Economic environment: 17 | Quality of life: 2 | Health care: 28
6. Arizona │ Overall Rank: 46 │ Total Score: 31.82
Student Loan Indebtedness Rank: 44 │ Grant & Student Work Opportunities Rank: 32

Arizona has the fourth lowest average student loan debt and is tied with Alaska for third lowest proportion of students with debt.

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5. Washington │ Overall Rank: 47 │ Total Score: 30.18
Student Loan Indebtedness Rank: 46 │ Grant & Student Work Opportunities Rank: 26
4. California │ Overall Rank: 48 │ Total Score: 25.22
Student Loan Indebtedness Rank: 48 │ Grant & Student Work Opportunities Rank: 36

California, despite its high cost of living, has the third lowest average student debt in the country, as well as the third lowest student debt as a percentage of income.
3. Wyoming │ Overall Rank: 49 │ Total Score: 24.66
Student Loan Indebtedness Rank: 49 │ Grant & Student Work Opportunities Rank: 33

Wyoming has the second lowest proportion of students with debt.
2. Hawaii │ Overall Rank: 50 │ Total Score: 15.60
Student Loan Indebtedness Rank: 50 │ Grant & Student Work Opportunities Rank: 46

Hawaii has the lowest student debt as a percentage of income and the lowest percentage of student-loan debtors 50 and older.
1. Utah │ Overall Rank: 51 │ Total Score: 13.77
Student Loan Indebtedness Rank: 51 │ Grant & Student Work Opportunities Rank: 29

Utah has the lowest average student debt in the country, the lowest proportion of students with debt and the fourth lowest percentage of student-loan debtors 50 and older.

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(Related: Top 10 States With the Most Student Debt)

When you’re considering which college to choose, remember that it’s not just about the books. It’s also about how much you end up borrowing, whether you can get a job or grants to cover some of your expenses and whether there will be opportunities for work after graduation—when that loan level will be at its highest.

Some states are more welcoming than others, providing jobs or other ways to meet the cost of higher education, while just the daily cost of living in some places can drive debt-laden grads into a hole from which they’ll find it awfully hard to climb.

WalletHub took a look at all 50 states and the District of Columbia in its quest to determine which places are more friendly to students carrying student loans and which are less friendly. States with lower college-debt-to-income ratios and strong economies generally worked out to be far more congenial to those trying to keep their heads above water.

Taking into account 11 different factors ranging from the proportion of students carrying debt to student debt as a share of income, share of such loans in default and share of student-loan borrowers 50 years old and older, WalletHub put it all together and reduced it to two main categories—student loan indebtedness and grant & student work opportunities—and then ranked each state on where it fit into the overall picture. Scores in those two categories were reduced to a total score, and that determined each state’s overall rank.

Above you will find the 10 states with the least student debt — places where you might be able to nurture greater expectations of success in your life after graduation. 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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