Gen X, boomers among student loan borrowers who owe the most: report

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Amid 2024 presidential election campaigning, student loan debt and forgiveness is a critical issue to American voters with college graduates struggling to contribute to their loan tab.

Across the country, Gen X and a portion of baby boomers racked up an average of $44,331 in loan debt per capita, which is a quarter above the U.S. average, according to DegreeChoices, a higher education research group.

“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,” David Levy of DegreeChoices wrote in a press release provided to FOX Business.

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

DegreeChoices collected Federal Student Aid data since September 2023, a month prior to student loan payments resuming since COVID-19, and analyzed criteria surrounding borrowed debt, population and age among the 50 states.

Maryland residents have amassed the highest volume of student loan debt per capita, according to study findings.

Maryland borrowers owe an average of $42,333 in loans. However, college graduates aged 51-60 across the state owe an elevated average of $56,168. The 1,690,000 borrowers in the Old Line State owe a whopping $35.92 billion.

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President Biden seen in photo illustration with the US Supreme Court

Maryland sits at No. 12 on the list of aggregated borrowers compared to its population. For every six people in Maryland, one of them, or 13.8%, is strapped with student loan debt, according to the study.

In Georgia, over one in six, or 15.8%, of residents are on the hook for student loan repayment, which is the highest proportion of borrowers versus the population across the country.

Peach State locals have amassed $68.95 billion in loan debt among 1.69 million students.

Residents of Georgia aged 51-60 owe $35,184, and those aged 35-49 owe $53,258 per capita. The latter has contributed the greatest volume of debt statewide of the $28.4 billion owed.

Of Virginia’s 1.1 million borrowers, an average of $38,917 is owed per capita. Millennials in Virginia account for $16.47 billion of the state’s $43 billion student loan debt.

Virginia is the state with the third-highest outstanding student loan debt per capita.

Collectively, North Dakota owes the least in student loan debt per capita among U.S. states. Only 89,000 residents in the Badlands signed off on student loans, and residents have average debt of $28,587.

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Money pile with graduation cap

On Wednesday, President Biden announced $7.7 billion in student loan handouts to more than 160,000 borrowers.

“From day one of my Administration, I promised to fight to ensure higher education is a ticket to the middle class, not a barrier to opportunity,” Biden said in a statement. “I will never stop working to cancel student debt — no matter how many times Republican elected officials try to stop us.”

In early April, Biden approved debt relief for student loan borrowers exceeding $140 billion for 4 million Americans, which received bipartisan skepticism from lawmakers.

“Joe Biden is forcing the American people to foot the bill for his illegal student loan bailout in a desperate attempt to save his failing campaign,” House GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., told Fox News Digital during an interview at the time.

States with the highest outstanding student loan debt:

  • California: $146,670,000,000
  • Texas: $125,730,000,000
  • Florida: $103,280,000,000
  • New York: $93,290,000,000
  • Georgia: $68,950,000,000

States with the highest outstanding student loan debt per capita

  • Maryland: $42,333.53
  • Georgia: $40,789.82
  • Virginia: $38,917.55
  • Florida: 38.089.62
  • Illinois: 37,660.75

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