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In a blog post last month, I used newly-available data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid to look at the amount of student loan dollars in income-driven repayment plans by amount of debt. In that post, I showed that students with more debt were far more likely to use IDR than students with less debt, with students having over $60,000 in debt being about twice as likely to use IDR as those with between $20,000 and $40,000 in debt.

In this post, I want to highlight some other new data that provides interesting insights into the federal student aid portfolio. I looked at state-level data (based on current residence, not where they went to college) that shows outstanding balances and the number of borrowers for both all Direct Loans (the vast majority of federal student loans at this point) and for those enrolled in income-driven plans. I then estimated the average loan value by dividing the two. The data are summarized in the table below.

 All Direct Loans Loans in IDR plans
State Balance ($bil)Borrowers (1000s) Avg loan Balance ($bil)Borrowers (1000s) Avg loan
AL15.9522.2       30,4005.4100.0       54,000
AK1.759.9       28,4000.610.3       58,300
AZ21.2711.9       29,8007.7137.1       56,200
AR8.5312.9       27,2003.062.0       48,400
CA102.83307.3       31,10036.7600.2       61,100
CO20.4662.1       30,8007.7133.6       57,600
CT12.1414.6       29,2003.459.6       57,000
DE3.1101.2       30,6001.017.4       57,500
DC5.0102.2       48,9002.425.7       93,400
FL65.72063.1       31,80026.4473.1       55,800
GA45.81350.2       33,90016.6279.2       59,500
HI3.1104.5       29,7001.118.2       60,400
ID5.3191.7       27,6002.141.6       50,500
IL45.71439.7       31,70014.9247.9       60,100
IN21.6794.7       27,2007.3152.3       47,900
IA10.4405.8       25,6003.367.8       48,700
KS9.2339.5       27,1002.957.6       50,300
KY13.8507.1       27,2004.9102.6       47,800
LA14.1499.1       28,3004.995.2       51,500
ME4.4158.8       27,7001.530.0       50,000
MD25.1707.2       35,5008.3123.5       67,200
MA23.1783.7       29,5007.0114.3       61,200
MI37.91262.4       30,00013.2243.4       54,200
MN19.9709.9       28,0006.7124.4       53,900
MS10.6360.7       29,4003.875.2       50,500
MO21.0707.2       29,7007.6143.5       53,000
MT3.0106.5       28,2001.223.1       51,900
NE5.7216.9       26,3001.937.8       50,300
NV7.5262.9       28,5002.851.6       54,300
NH4.7165.2       28,5001.426.2       53,400
NJ29.7999.5       29,7008.4145.1       57,900
NM5.3189.3       28,0002.139.7       52,900
NY67.92113.1       32,10024.0387.8       61,900
NC32.71065.5       30,70011.8213.6       55,200
ND1.875.1       24,0000.612.0       50,000
OH45.41577.1       28,80016.0313.8       51,000
OK10.3383.0       26,9003.671.5       50,300
OR14.9475.8       31,3006.1107.7       56,600
PA46.11539.3       29,90015.1275.3       54,800
RI3.3119.6       27,6001.018.8       53,200
SC18.2584.7       31,1006.8123.5       55,100
SD2.698.9       26,3000.917.9       50,300
TN21.3700.7       30,4007.8146.0       53,400
TX76.52772.1       27,60026.1516.4       50,500
UT6.9256.8       26,9002.747.3       57,100
VT2.166.4       31,6000.813.1       61,100
VA29.9913.8       32,70010.1166.0       60,800
WA20.1674.8       29,8007.4128.0       57,800
WV5.4200.3       27,0001.837.0       48,600
WI17.0646.6       26,3005.7114.5       49,800
WY1.245.3       26,5000.48.0       50,000

Nationwide, the average outstanding Direct Loan balance was right at $30,000, with significant variation across states (ranging from $24,000 in North Dakota to $48,900 in Washington, DC). The average outstanding balance in IDR was $55,800, which suggests that many borrowers in IDR attended graduate school in order to accumulate that amount of debt. State-level average IDR balances ranged from $47,800 in Kentucky to an impressive $93,400 in Washington, DC. California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, and Virginia all had average balances over $60,000—and they are all high cost of living states with high percentages of adults obtaining graduate or professional degrees.

Once again, kudos to the Department of Education for slowly releasing more data on the federal student loan portfolio. But there are still quite a few important data points (such as school-level data or anything on PLUS loans) that still aren’t available to the public.

[Cross-posted at Kelchen on Education]

Robert Kelchen

Robert Kelchen is a professor of education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the data editor for the Monthly’s college guide.