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Student debt is a pressing issue for millions of Americans. The Federal Reserve has reported that outstanding student loan debt in the United States has surpassed $1.6 trillion dollars, impacting over 45 million borrowers. According to a Department of Education analysis, the typical American undergraduate student with loans now graduates with nearly $25,000 in debt, and it’s only increasing year on year.

In fact, according to CollegeBoard, the average cost for a public four year in-state degree, including tuition, fees, room and board is $23,250 (up from $22,700 in 2021/2022) with the same cost for a public four year out-of-state degree costing a huge $40,550 (up from $39,570 in 2021/2022). 

This debt can have a significant impact on individuals’ financial stability and ability to make major life decisions, such as buying a home or starting a business. 

However this debt isn’t distributed evenly across the US. The number of public and private schools available in the state, as well as the cost of living and number of grants available all impact the amount of debt students must take on to get a degree.

Using data from the Federal Student Loan portfolio, we’ve collated a list of the 10 areas in the US with the lowest student loan debt taken on per person.

 

How we determined our list

To ensure the data wasn’t swayed by the number of borrowers, we used the Federal data and divided the total balance borrowed in the area against the amount of borrowers, in order to determine the average student debt per borrower. 

 

Data Findings – Places in the US with the Lowest Student Loan Debt Per Borrower

 

1. North Dakota

university-of-north-dakota

  • Number of student loan borrowers: 85,100
  • Total student loan debt owed: $2.4 Billion
  • Average student debt per borrower: $28,202.01
  • Average in-state tuition and fees at a public four-year institution: $10,951
  • Average out of-state tuition and fees at a public four-year institution: $15,570

How many colleges are in North Dakota?

There are 21 colleges and universities in the US state of North Dakota. Among them, some of the more well known institutions include the University of North Dakota and North Dakota State University.

 

2. Puerto Rico

university-puerto-rico

  • Number of student loan borrowers: 294,200
  • Total student loan debt owed: $8.7 Billion
  • Average student debt per borrower: $29,571.7
  • Average in-state tuition and fees at a public four-year institution: $4,359
  • Average out of-state tuition and fees at a public four-year institution: $4,511

How many colleges are in Puerto Rico? 

Puerto Rico is home to 152 accredited universities and colleges (21 of which are based in the capital city of San Juan), according to the Institute of Educational Sciences. Some of the more well known among them include The University of Puerto Rico, which is the oldest university in the Caribbean.

 

3. Iowa

university-of-iowa

  • Number of student loan borrowers: 422,000
  • Total student loan debt owed: $12.5 Billion
  • Average student debt per borrower: $29,620.9
  • Average in-state tuition and fees at a public four-year institution: $4,511
  • Average out of-state tuition and fees at a public four-year institution: $32,316

How many colleges are in Iowa? 

There are 60 universities in the US state of Iowa, with the University of Iowa and Iowa State University regularly named as some of the most prestigious and well known. 

 

4. South Dakota

south-dakota-university

  • Number of student loan borrowers: 113,100
  • Total student loan debt owed: $3.4 Billion
  • Average student debt per borrower: $30,061.9
  • Average in-state tuition and fees at a public four-year institution: $9,432
  • Average out of-state tuition and fees at a public four-year institution: $12,942

How many colleges are in South Dakota? 

There are 22 universities in the state of South Dakota with South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota among the most famous. South Dakota State University is the state’s largest institution, with a fall 2022 enrollment of 11,331 students.

 

5. Wyoming

University-of-Wyoming

  • Number of student loan borrowers: 52,100
  • Total student loan debt owed: $1.6 Billion
  • Average student debt per borrower: $30,710.2
  • Average in-state tuition and fees at a public four-year institution: $6,441
  • Average out of-state tuition and fees at a public four-year institution: $21,591

How many colleges are in Wyoming?

Wyoming has 8 public and 3 private higher education institutions. One of the top in-state public schools in Wyoming is the University of Wyoming, which has the largest number of students in the state.  

 

6. Wisconsin

wisconsin-university

  • Number of student loan borrowers: 700,800
  • Total student loan debt owed: $21.7 Billion
  • Average student debt per borrower: $30,964.6
  • Average in-state tuition and fees at a public four-year institution: $10,796
  • Average out of-state tuition and fees at a public four-year institution: $39,427

How many colleges are in Wisconsin?

There are 85 colleges and universities in the US state of Wisconsin, with the University of Wisconsin-Madison considered the largest, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee closely behind.

 

7. Oklahoma

oklahoma-university

  • Number of student loan borrowers: 451,800
  • Total student loan debt owed: $14.1 Billion
  • Average student debt per borrower: $31,208.5
  • Average in-state tuition and fees at a public four-year institution: $12,125
  • Average out of-state tuition and fees at a public four-year institution: $28,692

How many colleges are in Oklahoma?

There are currently 15 universities within the state of Oklahoma, with the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University among some of the most well known in the region.

 

8. West Virginia

west-virginia-university

  • Number of student loan borrowers: 217,500
  • Total student loan debt owed: $6.8 Billion
  • Average student debt per borrower: $31,264.4
  • Average in-state tuition and fees at a public four-year institution: $9,384
  • Average out of-state tuition and fees at a public four-year institution: $26,568

How many colleges are in West Virginia?

There are 44 colleges in West Virginia, distributed evenly throughout the state, and the oldest is Bethany College. West Virginia University and Marshall University are considered the largest in the region, attracting students from all over the US.

 

9. Nebraska

nebraska-university

  • Number of student loan borrowers: 239,600
  • Total student loan debt owed: $7.5 Billion
  • Average student debt per borrower: $31,302.2
  • Average in-state tuition and fees at a public four-year institution: $9,620
  • Average out of-state tuition and fees at a public four-year institution: $26,750

How many colleges are in Nebraska?

Nebraska’s system of higher education features 44 colleges and universities. The region’s flagship university: University of Nebraska-Lincoln also has additional campuses in Omaha and Kearney.

 

10. Indiana

indiana-university

  • Number of student loan borrowers: 864,300
  • Total student loan debt owed: $27.3 Billion
  • Average student debt per borrower: $31,586.3
  • Average in-state tuition and fees at a public four-year institution: $11,447
  • Average out of-state tuition and fees at a public four-year institution: $39,120

How many colleges are in Indiana?

There are approximately 60 colleges and universities of various types, not counting branch campuses, in the US state of Indiana. Indiana is home to two major public universities, Indiana University and Purdue University.

 

Data Findings – 10 Places in the US with the Lowest Student Loan Debt Per Borrower

 

Location Balance (in billions)  Borrowers (in thousands)  Average borrow per person 
North Dakota $2.4                                           85.1                             $28,202.12
Puerto Rico $8.7                                         294.2                             $29,571.72
Iowa $12.5                                         422.0                             $29,620.85
South Dakota $3.4                                         113.1                             $30,061.89
Wyoming $1.6                                           52.1                             $30,710.17
Wisconsin $21.7                                         700.8                             $30,964.61
Oklahoma $14.1                                         451.8                             $31,208.50
West Virginia $6.8                                         217.5                             $31,264.37
Nebraska $7.5                                         239.6                             $31,302.17
Indiana $27.3                                         864.3                             $31,586.25