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The 10 states most impacted by student debt

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Eduardo Munoz Alvarez | Getty Images

There's one thing that brings over 44 million Americans together — student debt. Today, Americans with student debt collectively hold nearly $1.5 trillion in student loans.

But not all states have the same levels of debt. WalletHub analyzed data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia in order to rank which states were most impacted by student loans.

They considered factors such as average student debt balance, the proportion of students with debt, the share of student loans in default as well as grant and student work opportunities in order to calculate a figure that represents how severely student debt affects each state.

High levels of student debt can impact states in several ways. Broadly, citizens with high levels of student debt are less able to invest in their local communities. For instance, Federal Reserve Board of Washington, D.C. found that an increase in student debt has led to a decrease in home ownership.

Check out the 10 states most impacted by student debt:

Source: WalletHub

10. Indiana

Total score: 56.73
Student loan indebtedness ranking: 10
Grant and student work opportunities ranking: 30

9. Iowa

Total score: 58.42
Student loan indebtedness ranking: 7
Grant and student work opportunities ranking: 36

8. Minnesota

Total score: 59.67
Student loan indebtedness ranking: 6
Grant and student work opportunities ranking: 42

7. Michigan

Total score: 60.02
Student loan indebtedness ranking: 9
Grant and student work opportunities ranking: 16

6. South Dakota

Total score: 62.35
Student loan indebtedness ranking: 1
Grant and student work opportunities ranking: 49

The University of New Hampshire
Danita Delimont | Getty Images
The University of New Hampshire

5. New Hampshire

Total score: 62.83
Student loan indebtedness ranking: 2
Grant and student work opportunities ranking: 39

4. West Virginia

Total score: 62.92
Student loan indebtedness ranking: 8
Grant and student work opportunities ranking: 1

3. Pennsylvania

Total score: 64.05
Student loan indebtedness ranking: 4
Grant and student work opportunities ranking: 19

2. Mississippi

Total score: 64.14
Student loan indebtedness ranking: 5
Grant and student work opportunities ranking: 5

1. Ohio

Total score: 64.25
Student loan indebtedness ranking: 3
Grant and student work opportunities ranking: 20

Ohio topped WalletHub's list of the states most impacted by student debt, in part due to its high levels of student loan indebtedness.

The Buckeye State was closely followed by Mississippi, which WalletHub found to have the highest levels of student debt as a percentage of income, even when adjusted for cost of living. Mississippi also ranked in the top five states with the highest percentage of student loans in default.

Dan Davenport, the Director of Student Financial Aid Services at the University of Idaho explains that college degrees are still a wise investment that communities make in their futures, as well as an important investment that students make in themselves.

"The student really is a stock we are investing in," says Davenport. "If we make smart decisions, work hard and get the degree, the stock value will grow."

David C. Bloomfield, professor of education leadership, law and policy at Brooklyn College and The City University of New York Graduate Center agrees: "Completed degree programs from reputable institutions are still the most reliable investment in future income and well-being."

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