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The average student loan debt across the US: Here are the top 10 states where borrowers will benefit most from Biden’s loan forgiveness

August 24, 2022, 4:52 PM UTC

President Joe Biden announced today that his administration will forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt for federal borrowers. That debt relief will go a lot further in some states than in others.

Total federal student loan debt in the U.S. stands at around $1.6 trillion, according to the most recent data provided by the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Office. Borrowers average $37,667, though that figure varies by location, degree type, and other factors.

Californians, for example, owed the most collectively in student loan debt at the end of March 2022, at $146 billion—given the state’s population size, that’s not surprising—but averaging $37,366 per borrower, slightly below the national average.

Borrowers in Wyoming, meanwhile, owed the least collectively, at $1.7 billion, or $31,365 each, on average.

Washington, D.C., owed the most per borrower, averaging over $55,500. Meanwhile, borrowers in Maryland and Georgia also owed significantly more than the national average, at $43,619 and $42,200, respectively, per borrower. North Dakota had the lowest average balance, at $29,885.

Here’s a look at the 10 states with the highest average student loan debt per borrower across the U.S. 

1. Maryland

Average debt per borrower: $43,619
Total outstanding debt: $36.3 billion

2. Georgia

Average debt per borrower: $42,200
Total outstanding debt: $69.3 billion

3. Virginia

Average debt per borrower: $39,892
Total outstanding debt: $43 billion

4. South Carolina

Average debt per borrower: $38,915
Total outstanding debt: $28.4 billion

5. Florida

Average debt per borrower: $38,889
Total outstanding debt: $102.1 billion

6. Illinois

Average debt per borrower: $38,526
Total outstanding debt: $62.3 billion

7. New York

Average debt per borrower: $38,400
Total outstanding debt: $93.9 billion

8. Delaware

Average debt per borrower: $38,371
Total outstanding debt: $4.9 billion

9. North Carolina

Average debt per borrower: $38,287
Total outstanding debt: $49.8 billion

10. Alabama

Average debt per borrower: $37,831
Total outstanding debt: $23.8 billion

How will student loan forgiveness affect you and your finances? Please email reporter Alicia Adamczyk to be featured in a future article.