//Georgia ranks in top 5 states with most student loan debt

Georgia ranks in top 5 states with most student loan debt

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ATLANTA – New research reveals that Georgia has the most student aid borrowers and the nation’s second-highest debt.


  • aryland has the nation’s highest student debt per capita, with the average borrower owing $42,333; North Dakota has the lowest at $28,587
  • Georgia has the most student aid borrowers, representing 15.8% of its population, and the nation’s second-highest average outstanding debt of $40,798 per capita
  • 50 to 61-year-olds owe the most student debt, owing an average of $44,331 per capita, a quarter above the US average

Higher education research group DegreeChoices reveals which states owe the most student loan debt, with Maryland racking up the highest amount per capita.

Analyzing official Federal Student Aid data as of September 2023, the experts have calculated how much each age range borrows across each state and calculated the average amount owed per student.

Comparing the number of borrowers for each range against the total amount owed reveals which states have the most outstanding student loan debt per borrower.

The states with the most student aid borrowers

Rank Location Dollars outstanding            (in billions) Number of borrowers (in thousands)Average amount owed per borrower
Maryland$35.92 848$42,333
Georgia$68.951,690  $40,798
Virginia$431,104 $38,917
Florida$103.28 2,711 $38,089
Illinois$61.791,640  $37,660
6South Carolina$28.69 763  $37,562
7North Carolina$51.09 1,362  $37,497
8New York$93.29 2,488  $37,482
9Delaware$5.01133.7 $37,471

The report reveals that Maryland has the most student loan debt per capita. The state has 1,690,000 borrowers with an outstanding balance of $35.92 billion. The average debt owed per student is $42,333, the highest nationally.

It has the highest student debt per capita in the country between almost every age group, between the ages of 25 and 61, and the second-highest among those aged 62 and over.

In Maryland, 50 to 61-year-olds owe the most, an average of $56,168 per capita. 35 to 49-year-olds have borrowed the largest sum, owing a total of $13.73 billion. Maryland has the 12th most borrowers compared to its population, with almost one in six (13.8%) owing student debt. 

Georgia is the second state with the most student loan debt, with 1.69 million students owing $68.95 billion, or around $40,798 per head. Over one in six (15.8%) owe student debt, the highest proportion of any state’s population nationally.

All of Georgia’s age groups, except for 24 and under, rank among the top ten highest debt per capita nationally among their cohorts. The Peach State’s 35-49 and 50 to 61-year-olds have the second-highest average debt in the U.S. among their age groups, owing $53,258 and $35,184 per capita, respectively. 

With a total of $28.4 billion owed, the 35 to 49 age group owes the largest total statewide.

Virginia is the third state with the highest student aid debt. Of the state’s 1.1 million borrowers and total debt of $43 billion, an average of $38,917 is owed.

In Virginia, 35 to 49-year-olds owe the most in total, at $16.47 billion. However, its 50 to 61-year-olds owe the most per capita at $51,258, which is the fourth-highest among the same age group in other states. 

Age groups 25 to 34 and 35 to 49 owe the third-highest amount per capita compared to the same age groups in other states, at $35,867 and $49,608. 

Florida ranks fourth highest. With 2.71 million borrowers, $103.28 billion is owed, which works out at around $38,089 per student. 

35 to 49-year-olds have the highest average debt statewide, owing $46,493 per capita. Its 25 to 34-year-olds owe the ninth-highest debt per capita compared to students of the same age group in other states. 

Florida has among the highest ten percentages of borrowers aged 35 and over, comprising over half (53.9%) of the state’s student population. 

The fifth-highest state for student loan debt is Illinois, owing $61.79 billion from its 1.64 million borrowers. That’s an average of $37,660 of student debt per borrower.

In Illinois, 35 to 49-year-olds have borrowed the most, with a debt of $21.61 billion at $47,452 per capita. Illinois has the fourth-highest debt nationally among 25 to 34-year-olds. However, its 50 to 61 age group has the highest outstanding debt per head, with the average student owing $49,860. 

Every age group in Illinois, except for 62 and over, ranks among the ten highest amounts owed in debt per capita compared to the respective groups in other states. 

South Carolina, North Carolina, New York, Delaware, and Hawaii round out the top ten states owing the most student loan debt per capita.

North Dakota has the least student debt at an average of $28,587 per capita and just 89,900 borrowers, one of the country’s smallest student populations. 

David Levy, Author at DegreeChoices commented on the study findings:

Federal loan debt in the United States totals $1.727 trillion, accounting for 92.8% of all student loan debt, with the remainder borrowed from other sources, such as home equity loans and child funding.

“Our analysis reveals 50 to 61-year-olds owe the most student debt, owing an average of $44,331 per capita, a quarter above the US average.

“College tuition in the US has increased steadily for decades, which makes it increasingly difficult for students to afford higher education without taking out huge loans.

“Stagnant wages and competitive job markets make it difficult for recent graduates to pay off their loans quickly, leading to longer repayment periods and more accrued interest.”