The national student loan debt in the United States sits at a daunting $1.52 trillion and is now the second highest form of consumer debt in the country, trailing only mortgages. 

To make this massive figure more relatable to the everyday consumer, the average college graduate from the Class of 2017 owed $16,683 in student loan debt upon graduation - even when those with no student loan debt were factored in.

While no one wants to face a number that large, many students have no other choice but to take on student loan debt in order to attend college. When other options like grants and scholarships have been exhausted, student loans are usually the last viable route. 

There are, of course, varying levels of student loan debt that students may have to take on depending on where they wind up going to receive their degrees from. State schools typically are more affordable for in-state students than out-of-state students, whereas public colleges will generally be less costly than private institutions. There are then schools that will be more generous with their scholarships and grants, while some have made a concentrated effort to reduce the student loan debt burden as much as possible. 

In order to identify those U.S. colleges and universities that are succeeding in limiting student loan debt amongst their students, The Student Loan Report has used Peterson's Undergraduate Database to analyze the respective student loan debt figures at more than 1,000 four-year public and private non-private colleges and universities throughout the country. 

After crunching the numbers, we were able to report an average student loan debt per graduate figure for each school that was listed in Peterson's database. Further, we uncovered what percentage of students graduate with some amount of debt at each school. 

This is our third year completing this study and the numbers reflect the 2016-2017 academic year, so the average student loan debt figure at each school reflects graduates from the Class of 2017. For this particular study, we decided to use average student loan per graduate instead of per borrower because the figure per graduate will reward institutions that have a low percentage of graduates with student loan debt. 

Below, you see how each college and university fared against other institutions in the same state in terms of their average student loan debt per graduate, in addition to nationwide rankings. 

School Rankings by State

Click a state below to jump to the rankings of colleges in that state.

Alabama

Overall Rank (low to high): 23

Average Debt Per Graduate: $16,077


Alaska

Overall Rank (low to high): 6

Average Debt Per Graduate: $11,876


Arizona

Overall Rank (low to high): 11

Average Debt Per Graduate: $12,885


Arkansas

Overall Rank (low to high): 17

Average Debt Per Graduate: $14,689


California

Overall Rank (low to high): 4

Average Debt Per Graduate: $11,453


Colorado

Overall Rank (low to high): 13

Average Debt Per Graduate: $13,715


Connecticut

Overall Rank (low to high): 45

Average Debt Per Graduate: $20,519


Delaware

Overall Rank (low to high): 46

Average Debt Per Graduate: $21,169


Washington D.C.

Overall Rank (low to high): 16

Average Debt Per Graduate: $14,242


Florida

Overall Rank (low to high): 7

Average Debt Per Graduate: $12,001


Georgia

Overall Rank (low to high): 25

Average Debt Per Graduate: $16,212


Hawaii

Overall Rank (low to high): 9

Average Debt Per Graduate: $12,322


Idaho

Overall Rank (low to high): 26

Average Debt Per Graduate: $16,284


Illinois

Overall Rank (low to high): 34

Average Debt Per Graduate: $17,949


Indiana

Overall Rank (low to high): 31

Average Debt Per Graduate: $17,074


Iowa

Overall Rank (low to high): 37

Average Debt Per Graduate: $18,502


Kansas

Overall Rank (low to high): 24

Average Debt Per Graduate: $16,117


Kentucky

Overall Rank (low to high): 30

Average Debt Per Graduate: $17,028


Louisiana

Overall Rank (low to high): 12

Average Debt Per Graduate: $13,120


Maine

Overall Rank (low to high): 38

Average Debt Per Graduate: $18,601


Maryland

Overall Rank (low to high): 27

Average Debt Per Graduate: $16,331


Massachusetts

Overall Rank (low to high): 42

Average Debt Per Graduate: $19,341


Michigan

Overall Rank (low to high): 35

Average Debt Per Graduate: $17,953


Minnesota

Overall Rank (low to high): 47

Average Debt Per Graduate: $21,607


Mississippi

Overall Rank (low to high): 19

Average Debt Per Graduate: $15,338


Missouri

Overall Rank (low to high): 22

Average Debt Per Graduate: $15,930


Montana

Overall Rank (low to high): 28

Average Debt Per Graduate: $16,764


Nebraska

Overall Rank (low to high): 14

Average Debt Per Graduate: $14,020


Nevada

Overall Rank (low to high): 3

Average Debt Per Graduate: $10,728


New Hampshire

Overall Rank (low to high): 51

Average Debt Per Graduate: $25,378


New Jersey

Overall Rank (low to high): 43

Average Debt Per Graduate: $20,003


New Mexico

Overall Rank (low to high): 5

Average Debt Per Graduate: $11,499


New York

Overall Rank (low to high): 44

Average Debt Per Graduate: $20,190


North Carolina

Overall Rank (low to high): 20

Average Debt Per Graduate: $15,365


North Dakota

Overall Rank (low to high): 32

Average Debt Per Graduate: $17,480


Ohio

Overall Rank (low to high): 39

Average Debt Per Graduate: $18,811


Oklahoma

Overall Rank (low to high): 8

Average Debt Per Graduate: $12,312


Oregon

Overall Rank (low to high): 21

Average Debt Per Graduate: $15,791


Pennsylvania

Overall Rank (low to high): 50

Average Debt Per Graduate: $24,126


Rhode Island

Overall Rank (low to high): 49

Average Debt Per Graduate: $23,036


South Carolina

Overall Rank (low to high): 33

Average Debt Per Graduate: $17,668


South Dakota

Overall Rank (low to high): 48

Average Debt Per Graduate: $22,799


Tennessee

Overall Rank (low to high): 15

Average Debt Per Graduate: $14,103


Texas

Overall Rank (low to high): 18

Average Debt Per Graduate: $14,856


Utah

Overall Rank (low to high): 1

Average Debt Per Graduate: $7,222


Vermont

Overall Rank (low to high): 36

Average Debt Per Graduate: $18,296


Virginia

Overall Rank (low to high): 29

Average Debt Per Graduate: $16,774


Washington

Overall Rank (low to high): 10

Average Debt Per Graduate: $12,554


West Virginia

Overall Rank (low to high): 40

Average Debt Per Graduate: $19,141


Wisconsin

Overall Rank (low to high): 41

Average Debt Per Graduate: $19,259


Wyoming

Overall Rank (low to high): 2

Average Debt Per Graduate: $10,586


State Rankings


More Information

In addition to evaluating each and every school included in the report, The Student Loan Report also found the average debt per graduate for all schools, in addition to that same figure at just private schools and just public schools. Some of our key findings included

  • Average Debt Per Graduate - Overall: $16,683
  • Average Debt Per Graduate - Public: $15,552
  • Average Debt Per Graduate - Private: $19,331
  • 57.7% of students graduated with student loan debt
  • The average debt per graduate at schools ranged from $1,531 to $46,990

Ultimately, private schools had $3,779, or 24%, more debt per graduate than public schools, on average. Generally, private institutions are more expensive than public colleges so this was not surprising. 


Methodology

In order to complete this study, we licensed data from Peterson's Undergraduate Database for the Class of 2017. Only four-year non-profit colleges and universities were used. This is the most recent data made available by Peterson's. Since the Peterson's data is compiled through a voluntary survey completed by the respective institutions, if a school you were looking for is not found here it is likely because they did not complete the Peterson's survey. 

To rank the states, we weighted each school based on the number of graduates. So, for example, a school with a higher number of graduates will have more influence on the state's average debt per graduate than a small school. 

The average student loan debt per graduate includes loans taken out through any student loan lender, including both the government and private student loan lenders. If a student transferred into a school with student loan debt, they were not included in the results. Furthermore, students who did not graduate, or those who did not graduate with a bachelor's degree (such as a certificate program), were not included.