These are the best and worst states for student loan debt

Even though student loan debt is a problem across the country, that doesn’t mean the burden of debt is equal in all 50 states.

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Student loan debt has reached $1.6 trillion this year, according to Federal Reserve data, but a report from WalletHub published Wednesday found that Utah has the lowest burden of student loan debt, while South Dakota has the highest.

To calculate its findings, WalletHub analyzed student debt as well as opportunities for paying it off in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C.

Each state was evaluated based on 12 metrics within two categories: “Student-loan indebtedness” and “grant & student work opportunities.”

The specific metrics included average student debt, the share of student loans in past-due or default status, availability of student jobs, grant growth and underemployment rate.

Source: WalletHub

Aside from the overall results, WalletHub also found that Connecticut has the highest average student debt, while Utah has the lowest average student debt.

It also discovered Mississippi has the highest percentage of student-loan balance past due or in default, while Massachusetts has the lowest percentage in that category.

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Here are the best and worst states — including Washington, D.C. — for student debt, based on WalletHub’s calculations.

10 worst states for student debt:

  1. South Dakota
  2. Pennsylvania
  3. West Virginia
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Iowa
  6. Minnesota
  7. Mississippi
  8. Ohio
  9. Michigan
  10. Rhode Island

10 best states for student debt:

  1. Arizona
  2. Alaska
  3. Nevada
  4. Florida
  5. District of Columbia
  6. Washington
  7. Wyoming
  8. California 
  9. Hawaii
  10. Utah