Student loan debt is a big problem in the U.S., a fact President Joe Biden acknowledged Wednesday when he announced his long-awaited student loan forgiveness plan.
Although the student debt crisis affects students across the country, not all states are equal when it comes to this burden, according to a new report from WalletHub. Researchers at the personal finance website compared the 50 states and District of Columbia on 11 measures of indebtedness and earning opportunities.
The data points were grouped into two categories, and each state and the District was ranked within each.
The student loan indebtedness category included factors measuring the share of students with debt, their income and debt loads, and the share of borrowers in income-driven repayment plans or in default.
The grant and work opportunities category included the under- and unemployment rate among 25- to 34-year-olds, the availability of student jobs and internships, grant growth and the presence of a “student loan ombudsman” law.
Researchers graded each metric on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 going to the state with the most student debt. They then determined each state’s and the District’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order the sample.
See the gallery for the 12 states with the heaviest student loan debt.