Student loan debt has grown 250% in the last 10 years—here's where grads owe the least

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The Definitive Guide to Student Loans

Student loan debt has grown 250% in the last 10 years—here's where grads owe the least

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Over the past decade, student loan debt has skyrocketed, increasing by more than 250 percent across the U.S., according to a new report by consumer spending site ValuePenguin. That adds up to more than $1.4 trillion in collective debt.

The site reports that, "between 2004 and 2014, the U.S. saw an almost 90 percent increase in the number of student loan borrowers, in addition to a nearly 80 percent uptick in average balance size." The average amount of debt per borrower nationwide now is $26,700. In some places graduates owe much more — or less.

ValuePenguin ranked each state according to the average amount of debt per graduate using data from The Institute for College Access & Success. These are the 15 states where the average amount of student debt is the lowest.

15. Alaska

Number of graduates with debt: 55 percent
Average debt: $26,171

Anchorage Alaska downtown skyline.
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Anchorage Alaska downtown skyline.

14. Tennessee

Number of graduates with debt: 60 percent
Average debt: $26,083

Downtown Nashville skyline with the Shelby Street bridge and the Cumberland River.
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Downtown Nashville skyline with the Shelby Street bridge and the Cumberland River.

13. Arkansas

Number of graduates with debt: 57 percent
Average debt: $26,082

Little Rock, Arkansas
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Little Rock, Arkansas

12. Colorado

Number of graduates with debt: 56 percent
Average debt: $25,840

Denver, Colorado.
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Denver, Colorado.

11. North Carolina

Number of graduates with debt: 61 percent
Average debt: $25,645

Raleigh, North Carolina
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Raleigh, North Carolina

10. Oklahoma

Number of graduates with debt: 52 percent
Average debt: $24,849

Oklahoma City Skyline
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Oklahoma City Skyline

9. Washington

Number of graduates with debt: 57 percent
Average debt: $24,600

The Seattle skyline
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The Seattle skyline

8. Arizona

Number of graduates with debt: 56 percent
Average debt: $23,780

Tucson, Arizona
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Tucson, Arizona

7. Nevada

Number of graduates with debt: 47 percent
Average debt: $23,462

The Las Vegas Strip
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The Las Vegas Strip

6. Hawaii

Number of graduates with debt: 50 percent
Average debt: $23,456

Waikiki Beach in Oahu, Hawaii.
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Waikiki Beach in Oahu, Hawaii.

5. Florida

Number of graduates with debt: 53 percent
Average debt: $23,379

Orlando, Florida
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Orlando, Florida

4. Wyoming

Number of graduates with debt: 46 percent
Average debt: $22,683

North American beaver (Castor canadensis) beaver dam in the Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA.
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North American beaver (Castor canadensis) beaver dam in the Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA.

3. California

Number of graduates with debt: 54 percent
Average debt: $22,191

San Francisco, California
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San Francisco, California

2. New Mexico

Number of graduates with debt: 58 percent
Average debt: $20,193

Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Albuquerque, New Mexico

1. Utah

Number of graduates with debt: 41 percent
Average debt: $18,873