The class of 2015 is the most indebted to date, with student loan debt adding up to almost $68 billion total, including federal and private loans. The average graduate will have to pay back $35,000, according to data analysis by Edvisors, and the student loan default rate hovers around 13 to 14 percent. While politicians debate the best way to combat student loan debt, or mitigate its crippling effects, individual students must decide the best way to minimize their debt load. A recent WalletHub report reminds us that where students live can be an important factor in determining how much money they owe – and how quickly they’re able to pay it off.
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“..[G]raduates need to be selective with where they apply their degrees,” writes Richie Bernardo at WalletHub. “Although a location such as New York City might boast a high average salary for a certain profession, for instance, the high cost of living might still outweigh one’s gains, leaving little to pay off student debt.”
PayScale’s Cost of Living Calculator helps recent grads – or any job seekers – evaluate the real value of a prospective job, when COL is taken into account. Furthermore, students might consider cost of living and states’ debt rankings when choosing a college or university. Although many graduates pull up stakes and light out for new horizons when they graduate, going to school in a geographic area that offers an affordable lifestyle and the opportunity to make enough money to pay off student loans might be a smart move. After all, graduates have the beginnings of a professional network in place at their alma mater, long before they walk at graduation.
With all that in mind, here are the states that ranked worst for student loan debt, according to WalletHub:
2. Rhode Island
7. New York
For more on student loan debt state by state, and to see the areas that are kindest on graduates’ bank balances, see WalletHub‘s full report.
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