Democratic congressmen and women may hold the mantle when it comes to proactively addressing student loan debt, but new research released by LendEDU in February analyzed recent graduates with student debt on both a state-by-state and congressional district basis. It paints a different picture for Democratic proactivity on the second largest form of debt in the United States.
Democratic politicians are actually leaving graduate borrowers worse off than their Republican counterparts in terms of average student debt per borrower according to the new research. In fact, students in Democratic-held states have 25.22 percent more student loan debt on average. When looking at congressional districts, the same story holds true, but the disparity drops to 11.5 percent. In states with one Republican and one Democratic senator, LendEDU found that Republican-held states still have less student debt. Graduate borrowers in split states have 30.3 percent more debt than those residing in fully Republican-held states.
Democrat-held states averaged $28,451 in student debt, Republican-held states averaged $22,719 in student debt, and split states averaged $29,598. Democratic congressional districts had $28,501 in student debt on average, and Republican districts had $25,562 on average.
Interestingly enough, the same study revealed that Democratic lawmakers are more likely to support student loan and college affordability initiatives than Republicans. Going by this information, one would assume that Democratic states and districts would have less student debt on average, but the reasons behind student debt in a state or district are varied.
The cost of tuition is a significant factor in student debt which varies considerably from region to region. Schools are spending more money on state-of-the-art facilities and high-end amenities to lure new enrollees. There’s money that goes towards recruiting and retaining top talent for both teaching and research which drives costs higher. The cost of living plays a factor in tuition; in other words, room and board is a significant regional factors that drives costs. On top of all that, many states have been curbing higher education funding which places a heavier burden on students, their families, taxpayers, and the federal government. While tuition and state funding play important roles in overall state or district student debt, it’s not the only factor.
A lawmaker’s stance on student loan reform can potentially play a direct role in student debt levels in a state or district. To reiterate, it was found that Democrats generally support current college affordability and student loan initiatives more than Republicans. While Democratic regions have more student debt, their borrowers are paying student debt off more efficiently than borrowers in Republican states and districts according to the new research by LendEDU.
Graduate borrowers in Republican states default 56 percent more often than borrowers in Democratic states and 15 percent more often than borrowers in split states. Additionally, Republican congressional district borrowers default 26% more often than borrowers from Democratic districts. The Republican state default rate was 7.4 percent on average. The Democratic state default rate was 4.76 percent on average, and the split state default rate averaged 6.44 percent. In congressional districts, Republican regions defaulted 6.84 percent of the time while Democratic districts defaulted at a rate of 5.42 percent.
All said and done, there are some impressive states and districts out there. Democratic New Mexico has the highest default rate in the country standing at 17.9 percent; Republican-held Alaska came in second with a student loan default rate of 11.6 percent. Democratic Delaware had the lowest default rate at 0 percent, but this figure is missing college reported data from the University of Delaware, the largest in-state university. The second best default rate was 3.31 percent in Washington state, held by two Democratic senators. The top performing congressional districts hailed from California, District 26 and 30, with 0 percent default rates. The two worst performing districts were republican; Ohio district 5 had a default rate of 20.45 percent while New Mexico’s district 2 had a default rate of 18.82 percent.
Democratic Connecticut’s graduate borrowers owe $35,947 on average, taking first place. Democratic New Hampshire followed closely with $34,839. Utah (Republican) and New Mexico (Democratic) had the lowest average student debt with $18,772 and $20,776, respectively. District 4 form Connecticut sports an impressive average $45,912 in student debt per borrower, and North Carolina’s District 1 follows close behind with an average of $42,310 debt per borrower. On the contrary, Alabama District 2 has an average student debt of $11,313 while California’s District 21 comes in second with $11,679 in average student debt.
Author: Andrew Rombach
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