How Big of a Problem is Student Debt in the South?

August 2, 2023
1 min read
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The Gist: Student debt is a pressing issue across the United States, but it’s particularly burdensome in the South. A recent study by WalletHub reveals that Southern states like Mississippi, South Carolina, and Georgia rank high in terms of student-loan indebtedness.

What Happened? WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 12 key measures of indebtedness and earning opportunities. The data set ranged from average student debt to unemployment rate among the population aged 25 to 34 to share of students with past-due loan balances.

By The Numbers:

  • Mississippi ranks third in the nation for student-loan indebtedness.
  • South Carolina comes in eighth.
  • Georgia is not far behind, ranking ninth.
  • The study also shows that student debt as a percentage of income, adjusted for the cost of living, is highest in Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina.
  • The unemployment rate for people aged 25 to 34 is also a concern in these states.

Why It Matters: The high levels of student debt in these states can lead to significant financial troubles for individuals, potentially impacting their ability to buy homes, start families, or invest in their futures. It also has broader implications for the economy, as high levels of debt can slow consumer spending and economic growth.

What’s Next? As student debt continues to be a significant issue, it’s crucial for students and parents to consider the return on investment in higher education. This includes looking at the employability of the degree field and the quality of the university. It’s also important for policymakers to consider ways to alleviate the burden of student debt, such as increasing grant and student work opportunities.

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