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Dec. 5, 2022

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U.S. has piled up $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. How big is Washington’s share?

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BALLINGHAM — As President Joe Biden has announced his plan on Wednesday afternoon to cancel up to $20,000 of student loans for federal borrowers, many are questioning if they will qualify for their loans to be forgiven.

Student loan debt in the United States

Across the United States, more than 45 million borrowers have $1.6 trillion in student loan debt, according to a White House fact sheet.

Washington has the 4th smallest amount of student loan debt in the United States, according to a recent report from WalletHub, a personal finance website.

The report compared student loan debt in all 50 states and the District of Columbia by evaluating each state’s student loan indebtedness as well as grants and student working opportunities.

The five states with the most student loan debt were West Virginia, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, New Hampshire and Mississippi.

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The five states with the least amount of student loan debt were Utah, the District of Columbia, California, Washington and New Mexico.

Student loan debt in Washington state

Not only is Washington one of the states with the least amount of student loan debt, but it also rated well in other debt categories in the WalletHub report:

  • 46th in average student loan debt.
  • 42nd in proportion of students with debt.
  • 45th in student debt as a percentage of income.
  • 30th in unemployment rate of population ages 24 to 34.
  • 39th in the percentage of student loans past due or in default status.
  • 30th in availability of student jobs.
  • 39th in grant growth.

The report measured student loan debt across eleven factors: average student debt, the proportion of students with debt, student debt as a share of income, the share of student loans in past-due or default status, the share of federal student loan borrowers enrolled in income-driven repayment plans, underemployment rates, unemployment rate among those ages 25 to 34 years old, grant growth, availability of paid internships, availability of student jobs and the presence of the “Student Loan Ombudsmen” law in each state.

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