College Game Plan

The median student loan payment in Washington, D.C. is $242. Find out what yours is

Key Points
  • Outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. has swelled to more than $1.3 trillion.
  • New Hampshire grads have more debt than those in California.
Pamela Joe McFarlane | Getty Images

College grads from New Hampshire are probably carrying student loan debt. In 2015, 64 percent of undergraduate students hailing from the Granite State had federal student loans.

From California? You're more likely to be debt-free. Just 1 in 5 students from the Golden State had federal student loans that year.

A new tool from the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C., lets people dig into student loan information on a state — and even county — level. You can check the median student loan debt of residents in Albany County, Wyoming ($19,542), for example, or the share of student loan debt in collections in Ada Country, Idaho (3 percent).

Outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. has swelled to more than $1.3 trillion. But researchers haven't put much time into understanding the geographic distribution of this burden, said Caroline Ratcliffe, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, and a researcher on the map project.

Until now.

The Midwest and the Northeast are the regions most heavily saturated in student debt, according to The Urban Institute's calculations, with the worst states being New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Maine. Meanwhile, residents in New Mexico, Wyoming and California carry the least education debt.

Unsurprisingly, students from states where college is more expensive tend to borrow more.

The findings also assessed factors that make someone more likely to be burdened by education debt.

"The people who struggle the most to pay back student loan debt tend to be people with lower amounts of student loans who haven't completed their degree," Ratcliffe said. "So now they have the debt but no degree."

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The map also highlights racial disparities, Ratcliffe said.

"Over 90 percent of white people in Washington, D.C. have at least a bachelors' degree, and it's only 40 percent of non-whites," she said. "You see a higher share of people with student loan debt in predominately non-white areas than white areas."

Deciphering your financial aid offer

These are the states whose residents have the highest median monthly student loan payments:

1) Washington, D.C.

Median monthly student loan payment: $242

2) Massachusetts

Median monthly student loan payment: $197

3) New Hampshire

Median monthly student loan payment: $196

4) Maryland

Median monthly student loan payment: $189

5) New Jersey

Median monthly student loan payment: $188