10 cities with the highest student loan balances

10 cities with the highest student loan balances
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College tuition costs are rising at unprecedented rates these days. In the United States, student loan debt eclipsed $1.3 trillion at the end of 2017, according to the Federal Reserve.

When we think about student loans, rarely does where a person lives figure into the picture. But a new study from loan site Lending Tree shows that among regions in the United States, the South is bearing the brunt of student debt compared to other places.

Is your locale on the list? These cities have the most student loan debt

To arrive at the figures, Lending Tree analysts looked at anonymized LendingTree.com users in the first quarter of 2018 and tallied their student loans, locale and other data. Information from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012-2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates was also used.

Here are the cities with the most student loan debt:

  • 1 ‘ Washington, D.C.: Median Balance: $22,803
  • 2 ‘ Atlanta, Georgia: Median Balance: $22,232
  • 3 ‘ Richmond, Virginia: Median Balance: $21,915
  • 4 ‘ Raleigh, North Carolina: Median Balance: $21,357
  • 5 ‘ Akron, Ohio:  Median Balance: $21,037
  • 6 ‘ Little Rock, Arkansas: Median Balance: $21,031
  • 7 ‘ Birmingham, Alabama: Median Balance: $20,679
  • 8 ‘ Jackson, Mississippi: Median Balance: $20,650
  • 9 ‘ Columbia, South Carolina: Median Balance: $20,560
  • 10 ‘ Charleston, South Carolina: Median Balance: $20,469

RELATED: Student loan scam: A cautionary tale

Here are the cities with the least student loan debt

  • 100 ‘ McAllen, Texas: Median Balance: $13,017
  • 99 ‘ Fresno, California: Median Balance: $13,808
  • 98 ‘ Springfield, Massachusetts: Median Balance: $14,615
  • 97 Bakersfield, California: Median Balance: $14,656
  • 96 Providence, Rhode Island: Median Balance: $15,025
  • 95 Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Median Balance: $15,056
  • 94 Salt Lake City, Utah: Median Balance: $15,165
  • 93 Provo, Utah: Median Balance: $15,244
  • 92 Ogden, Utah: Median Balance: $15,244
  • 91 San Jose, California: Median Balance: $15,273
  • 90 Albuquerque, New Mexico: Median Balance: $15,549

The average college student who graduated in 2015 owed $29,411, according to USnews.com. One year later that figure dropped 2% to $28,773.


If you’re contemplating college, you may be wondering how to further educate yourself about student loans and find out what’s available. Check out Clark Howard’s Student Loan Guide, which has tips on borrowing and how to pay them off.

RELATED: Here’s how much you can expect to make with your college major

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