5 States With the Highest/Lowest Student Loan Debt
While many media reports have focused on a looming national student loan crisis, a research report by the Institute of College Access and Success took a closer look at this issue by identifying in which states students graduated with the highest and the lowest average loan debt in 2012.
Because higher education costs continue to increase, the demand for student loans is expected to increase as well. To meet that demand, more credit unions have been expanding their private student loan portfolios while more cooperatives have entered this growth market over the last few years.
For example, in 2011 only 375 credit unions offered private student loans. By the end of 2013, that number grew to 642, according to data compiled from NCUA 5300 Call Reports by student loan CUSO CU Campus Resources in Madison, Wis. By the end of 2014’s first quarter, 655 cooperatives were providing private student loans to their members.
CU Times researched the five states in which college students graduated with the highest average loan debt, and the five states in which college students graduated with the lowest average loan debt based, on the Wash. D.C.-based TICAS report.
What’s more, CU Times took a look at the credit unions in these 10 states that offer private student loans for their members.
To estimate the state-by-state averages of student loan debt, TICAS used figures provided voluntarily by more than half of nation’s public and private nonprofit four-year colleges. For-profit colleges, which accounted for 7% of 2012 bachelor’s recipients, were not included in the state estimates because none of them shared data, according TICAS.
College graduates in the Class of 2012 had an average student loan debt of $29,400. More than 70% of graduates had student loans to pay off when they entered the workforce, the TICA data showed.
Read more: Top 5 states with the highest average student loan debt ...
Students at Delaware’s colleges and universities graduated in 2012 with an average loan debt of $33,649, the highest in the nation.
Of the First State’s 24 cooperatives, three offered private student loans to members last year.
The $214 million Dexsta Federal Credit Union was Delaware’s largest private student lender. The Wilmington-based credit union posted $1.4 million in student loans, up from $1 million at the end of 2012.
The $234 million Louviers Federal Credit Union in Newark expanded its private student loan business from $447,678 in 2012 to $628,003 in 2013. The $44 million New Castle School Employees Federal Credit Union in New Castle saw its loan portfolio decline slightly, however, from $85,073 in 2012 to $73,298 last year.
Students who graduated from New Hampshire’s colleges and universities launched their careers saddled with the second highest average loan debt in the nation of $32,698, according to TICAs.
Among the Granite State’s 20 credit unions, three offered their members private student loans last year.
The $203 million Holy Rosary Credit Union in Rochester increased its private student loan portfolio to $10.7 million at the end of 2013, from $7.9 million in 2012.
The $151 million Members First Credit Union of New Hampshire in Manchester saw its private student loan portfolio fall from $201,284 in 2012 to $152,112 in 2013.
And the Portsmouth-based $2.4 billion Service Credit Union’s private student loan portfolio also declined from $55,892 in 2012 to $17,793 in 2013.
Pennsylvania grads left their colleges with the country’s third highest average loan debt of $31,675.
Approximately 65 of the Keystone State’s 475 offered private student loans last year.
The $2.6 billion Members First Credit Union in Mechanicsburg, Pa., was the No. 1 private loan lender among the state’s cooperatives. In 2013, Members First posted $44.5 million in private student loans, up from $35 million in 2012.
The second largest private student loan lender was the $1.4 billion American Heritage Federal Credit Union, which posted $13.4 million in student loans last year, up from the $10.5 million the Philadelphia cooperative approved in 2012.
The $263 million Widget Financial Credit Union in Erie, Pa., was Pennsylvania’s third largest student loan provider, approving $11.5 million in loans last year, That figure marked an increase from the $9.2 million in student loans the credit union booked in 2012.
Minnesota college graduates had the fourth highest average loan debt in the U.S. at $31,156.
Twenty-eight of state’s 133 credit unions offered their members private student loans in 2013.
The top private student lender among the North Star State’s cooperatives was the $1.7 billion Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union in St. Paul, which made $32.3 million student loans last year, up from $22.4 million in 2012.
The $681 million Mayo Employee Federal Credit Union in Rochester was the No. 2 private student lender that posted $6.1 million in loans in 2013 compared to $3.3 million in 2012.
In 2013, the $941 million Hiway Credit Union in St. Paul was the No. 3 private student lender, approving $5.7 million in student loans, compared to $6.5 million in 2012.
When college graduates in Rhode Island left their alma maters in 2012 they had an average loan debt of $31,156, the fifth highest in the U.S.
Two of the Ocean State’s 21 credit unions provided private student loans in 2013.
The $13.8 million Woodlawn Credit Union in Pawtucket provided $257,310 in student loans last year. The cooperative did not offer private student loans in 2012.
The $110 million Wave Credit Union also began offering private student loans in 2013. In its first year, the Warwick-based cooperative posted $72,815 in student loans.
Read more: 5 states with the lowest average student loan debt ...
1. New Mexico
New Mexico grads left their colleges and universities in 2012 with an average debt of $17,994, the lowest amount in the nation.
Of the 48 credit unions in the Land of Enchantment, two cooperatives offered private student loans in 2013.
The $2 billion Sandia Laboratory Credit Union in Albuquerque increased its student loan portfolio from $6.1 million in 2012 to $7.1 million in 2013, according to data from the NCUA.
The $1.4 billion New Mexico Educators Credit Union also in Albuquerque saw its student loan business grow to $2.1 million last year, from $1.6 million in 2012.
California grads bid farewell to their alma maters with the second lowest average loan debt in the country, which amounted to $20,269.
Nearly 40 of the Golden State’s 381 cooperatives offered private student loans last year.
The $6.7 billion Star One Credit Union was the No. 1 student lender among the state’s cooperatives. Star One in Sunnyvale posted $40.7 million in private student loans in 2013, up from the $30.6 million it loaned in 2012.
Ranked second was the $583 million AltaOne Federal Credit Union in Ridgecrest, which increased its private student loan portfolio from $13.1 million in 2012 to $21.9 million in 2013.
The $6.8 billion First Technology Federal Credit Union in Mountain View was ranked third in the state. The cooperative expanded its student loan business from $13.2 million in 2012 to $17.5 million in 2013.
Arizona college graduates left their campuses with the nation’s third lowest average loan debt of $20,299, according to TICAS.
Among Grand Canyon State’s 45 credit unions, three cooperatives provided private student loans last year.
The $1.3 billion Vantage West Credit Union in Tucson increased its student loan portfolio from $1.5 million in 2012 to $2.3 million last year.
The $15 million Southwest Healthcare Credit Union in Phoenix, however, saw its private student loan business drop from $137,715 in 2012 to $63,882 in 2013.
And the $412 million Arizona Central Credit Union in Phoenix was a newcomer to the market, approving its first $5,000 private student loan last year.
Nevada grads left campus with the fourth lowest average loan debt in the nation that totaled $20,568, according to TICAS.
Among the Silver State’s 18 cooperatives, only the $18 million Pahranagat Valley Credit Union offered private student loans last year when it first entered the market. The Alamo-based credit union booked $57,982 in private student loans.
In Wyoming, students graduated with $21,241 in average loan debt, the fifth lowest in the country, according to TICAS.
Among the Equality State’s approximately 30 credit unions, there were two cooperatives that offered private student loans last year.
The $252 million Uniwyo Credit Union in Laramie grew its private student loan business to $1.3 million in 2013, from $1 million in 2012.
The $289 million Meridian Trust Federal Credit Union in Cheyenne increased its private student loan portfolio from $207,625 in 2012 to $375,493 in 2013.