Enrichment Education

The 10 states with the highest student loan balances

The New York Fed found California holds the nation’s highest total student loan balance of about $147 billion while Wyoming holds the lowest balance of about $1.7 billion.
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Story at a glance


  • The U.S. has about 43 million student loan borrowers, adding up to about $1.7 trillion in outstanding debt. 

  • California, Texas and New York carry some of the highest total loan balances in the country. 

  • President Biden has said he’s considering forgiving up to $10,000 in student loan debt per borrower. 

No state is free of student loan debt, as the U.S. has about 43 million student loan borrowers. New data from the New York Fed sheds light on which states carry the highest loan balances. 

Currently the U.S. has about $1.7 trillion of outstanding federal student loan debt, with borrowers holding an average debt balance of about $37,000. Those balances have consistently been growing over the past decade. 

Nearly all borrowers that hold federal student loans have been given a reprieve from making monthly payments or from having interest accumulate on their loans, thanks to a nationwide moratorium that’s been in place since 2020.  

President Biden is considering forgiving up to $10,000 of student loan debt per borrower but has not made any formal announcement yet. However, Biden’s Department of Education has canceled nearly $26 billion in student loan debt for more than 1.3 million borrowers since taking office. 


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The New York Fed analyzed the makeup of student debt across the country and found the average loan balance varies drastically, with California holding the highest total balance of all states at $147 billion while Wyoming holds the lowest balance of about $1.7 billion. 

Here are the 10 states with the highest total student loan balances: 

  1. California 

There is about $147 billion in total outstanding student loan debt in California, the highest amount in the country. The state has about 4.1 million student loan borrowers and carries an average loan balance of about $35,000. 

  1. Texas 

There is about $113 billion in total outstanding student loan debt in Texas, for about 3.6 million student loan borrowers. Borrowers in Texas carry an average loan balance of about $31,000. 

  1. New York 

In New York there’s about $98 billion in outstanding student loan debt. The state has about 2.7 million total student loan borrowers, carrying an average balance of about $36,000. 

  1. Florida 

In Florida, the total student loan debt adds up to about $98 billion. There are about 2.5 million borrowers in the state, with an average loan balance of about $35,000. 

  1. Pennsylvania 

There is about $71.5 billion in total student loan debt in Pennsylvania, for about 2.1 million borrowers. The average loan balance in the state sits at about $33,000. 

  1. Georgia 

In Georgia, the total student loan debt sits at about $65 billion. The state has about 1.6 million student loan borrowers, carrying an average balance of about $40,000. 

  1. Ohio 

Ohio has a total student loan balance of about $63 billion and has about 1.8 million borrowers. Ohioans carry an average loan balance of about $34,000. 

  1. Illinois 

Nearly tied with Ohio, Illinois also has a total student loan balance of about $63 billion. The midwestern state has about 1.8 million borrowers and an average loan balance of about $33,000. 

  1. Michigan 

Michigan’s total student loan balance sits at about $51 billion for about 1.4 million borrowers. The average loan balance in Michigan is about $33,000. 

  1. New Jersey 

New Jersey’s total student loan balance is about $48 billion, and the state has about 1.3 million borrowers. The average loan balance is about $33,000.