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Student Loans Reports

U.S. Cities With the Highest and Lowest Student Debt Balances

Updated Apr 05, 2023   |   3 mins read

Ever increasingly, college students are mired by student debt long after receiving their diplomas.

For most, student loan payments have become another monthly expenditure that eats away at earnings, similar to a rent, electric, or water bill.

How big has the student loan debt crisis become? A few student loan debt statistics can paint a pretty bleak picture.

Currently, there are 43.3 million student loan borrowers that collectively owe $1.41 trillion in outstanding student loan debt. 60 percent of students will graduate college with debt. On average, these student borrowers will owe $28,400. Additionally, the federal student loan default rate is at 11.8 percent.

On a broad scale, the United States and its million of borrowers are failing to fix a worsening student debt crisis. However, there are individual places in the U.S. that are handling the student loan debt problem much more effectively than the country as a whole.

With the help of data licensed from Experian, LendEDU has recognized the 500 U.S. cities where the average student debt balances are lowest. On the other end of the spectrum, our report also provides a list of the 500 U.S. cities where the average student debt balances are highest.

Also included is a ranking of the 100 most populated U.S. cities based on their respective average student debt balance.

To be considered for this study, a town or city had to have a population above 15,000.

LendEDU’s report, entitled “U.S. Cities with the Highest & Lowest Student Debt Balances” provides a detailed look into which U.S. cities owe the most and least in student loan debt.

Map of U.S. Cities by Average Student Loan Debt Balance

500 U.S. Cities with the Lowest Average Student Loan Debt

500 U.S. Cities with the Highest Average Student Loan Debt

Map of 100 Largest U.S. Cities by Average Student Loan Debt

Average Student Loan Debt of the 100 Largest U.S. Cities

Methodology

All data within this report was pulled from Experian’s Premier Aggregated Credit StatisticsSM and Onboard Informatics. Location data was cross referenced between Onboard Informatics and Experian’s Premier Aggregated Credit StatisticsSM to formulate a list of ZIPTM1 codes accompanied by city names, state names, updated population figures as reported by Onboard Informatics, and average student loan balances as reported by Experian. After a list was created, a population cutoff of 15,000 was implemented, phasing out the least populous cities in the United States.

Some cities within the data set had multiple ZIPTM codes, which meant that some cities had more than one average student debt balance. When consolidating this data to represent any given city with multiple ZIPTM codes, the number of open student loan accounts were used to weight their respective student debt balances. This led to a final weighted average based on the number of student loan accounts in a given ZIP CodeTM area.

After the average student debt balance was found for each city, rankings could be determined based solely on the average student loan debt balance each city held. For the first table, cities with the lowest average student debt balance received a better ranking. For the second table, cities with the highest student debt balance received a higher placement on the list. Finally, for the third table, cities with the lowest average student debt balance received a better ranking. 

See more of LendEDU’s Research

1. Experian is a nonexclusive full-service provider licensee of the United States Postal Service. The following trademarks are owned by the United States Postal Service: ZIP and ZIP Code. The price for Experian’s services is not established, controlled or approved by the United States Postal Service.