Categories: Student Loans

It’s Complicated: The Best and Worst States for Student Loan Debt

When you look at WalletHub’s new map that shows the best and worst states for student debt, it’s easy to say that Ohio has the overall highest student loan debt, while Hawaii has the lowest. That, however would only be half the picture because also included is the student loan indebtedness rank (Ohio in third place, Hawaii in 50th) and a third factor – ‘Grant & Student Work Opportunities Rank’. In this, Ohio is in 20th place for these opportunities, and Hawaii is dead last. However, there are a number of other factors that go into creating these scores.

Factoring It In

With student loans and servicers facing scrutiny, and some programs that students thought they could count on going by the boards, the uncertainty may be enough to keep some students from pursuing the education they want and need to succeed in their chosen field. They study’s methodology works hard to give students and parents a more realistic look at costs, and the factors behind the rankings. The “real world” look and feel of the study takes indebtedness and plucks it into five weighted categories such as student debt as a share of income for a state’s students, the proportion of students with student debt, and how many loans are past due or in default.

The interesting number, though, is under the grants and work opportunities section, and this really fleshes out the study. Factors such as overall employment in the 25 to 34 age group might be a given, but the study also counts under-employment as a factor in opportunity. Many a grad will have heard the rallying cries of, “There are jobs out there!” However, the jobs are generally low-skilled, low paying, or a desperate mismatch to the skills of the student. Hence, one could find – in the down and dirt days of the recession – a newly minted Master of Library Science working at Starbucks.

Yes, it counts as a job, but not one that fully utilizes the skills of the graduate, hence the term under-employment.

The opportunities provided by paid internships, the availability of student jobs, and the growth of available grants are three highly important factors in how students prepare to get jobs, their likelihood of becoming employed, and how their expenses are defrayed by grants. In all, this article takes away a rather condescending oversight – getting an affordable education is not the same thing as getting a “cheap” education. That education can be affordable despite a burden of loans, simply by granting students access to paying jobs, compensated internships, and grants.

Get Good Advice

If you are a graduate who is in over your head with student loan debt, or even a high school senior trying to decide how to pay for your education, come and talk to us about your options. We can help you to get your loans under control, and make smart choices for the future. Our offices in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach are open seven days a week, and your initial consultation is free. Call us today and make your goal academic success instead of surviving your loan package.

Published by
Chad Van Horn

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