Earning a college degree in the US has become so expensive that most students need to take out a loan to help with the costs. According to Federal Reserve data, student loan debt ballooned to about $1.7 trillion in 2020, and loan holders who graduated from public or private colleges in 2019 have incurred an average debt of $28,950.

Recent data showed that the student loan average differs from state to state. Through analyzing federal student loan portfolios provided by the US Department of Education, a comprehensive list ranking each state based on its student loan balance and number of borrowers has been created.

Washington, DC takes the crown with the highest student debt average as students from the nation’s capital owe about $54,982. Maryland, Georgia, Virginia, Florida complete the top of the list with $42,592, $41,255, $38,903, and $38,160 respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, North Dakota is ranked last with an average loan balance of $28,402. 

In the report, each state and Washington, DC have also been ranked according to the percentage of the population that has an outstanding federal student loan. DC is once again ahead of the race with 16 percent. Ohio and Georgia follow suit with 15 percent while Hawaii has the least residents with student loans at 8 percent.

While the numbers steadily ride, 2021 has reserved good news for student borrowers. President Joe Biden announced the suspension of federal student loan payments will be extended until October 1. He further proposed to forgive at least $10,000 per person in federal student loans.

The new president has made it clear that education and student loans are actively part of his agenda and this move, early on in his term, may become the precedent for what is to come.