FILE - ME Bowdoin College 2-13-2012

Students walk on the campus Feb. 13, 2012, at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.

(The Center Square) – Last year’s Maine college graduates on average racked up $33,591 in student loan debt, the sixth highest average among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to a new report from the Institute for College Access & Success.

In Maine, the share of graduates with debt during the 2018-19 academic year stood at 67%, the institute reported, while the total cost of attending college in the state averaged $35,050.

Nationwide, 62% of college seniors who graduated from both private and public universities last year had student loan debt, the analysis found. On average, graduates at the nation’s colleges owed an average of $28,950 last year, the data shows.

The 2019 numbers were below those reported the year before, when 65% of U.S. graduates had loan debt, according to the institute. The average student loan debt in 2018 was $29,200.

The slight decline in student loan debt was attributed to increases in state higher education spending as well as the effects of a strong economy prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the researchers said. But even so, student debt has not returned to the more normal levels that occurred prior to the Great Recession, according to the analysis.

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Which States Have the Highest Student Loan Debt?

StateAverage Debt of Graduates (2018-19)Average Debt RankPercent of Graduates with Debt (2018-19)Percent with Debt RankTotal Cost of Attendance (on-campus)
New Hampshire$39,410174%1$44,069
Pennsylvania$39,027265%6$43,974
Connecticut$38,546356%27$48,662
Rhode Island$37,614459%18$50,508
Delaware$37,447559%18$29,388
Maine$33,591667%3$35,050
New Jersey$33,566764%7$39,219
Massachusetts$33,256855%30$53,853
North Dakota$32,745964%7$20,975
District of Columbia$32,0391046%46$64,354
Minnesota$31,8561166%5$34,345
South Dakota$31,6531274%1$25,335
Mississippi$31,6511355%30$17,609
Wisconsin$31,5501464%7$28,296
South Carolina$31,5241560%12$31,534
New York$31,1551658%22$43,375
Michigan$30,6771759%18$29,456
Virginia$30,5741856%27$33,971
Vermont$30,5661960%12$45,172
Maryland$30,3032053%34$35,601
Iowa$30,2592163%10$28,549
Ohio$29,8862260%12$34,678
Alabama$29,7912350%36$25,805
Illinois$29,6662461%11$42,705
West Virginia$29,2722567%3$24,979
Missouri$28,7402657%24$28,491
Kentucky$28,4822758%22$30,068
Indiana$28,1122859%18$31,855
Georgia$28,0812956%27$28,641
Oregon$27,5423054%33$33,343
Tennessee$27,5253160%12$33,397
Montana$27,2653257%24$23,188
Texas$26,9513348%40$27,302
Kansas$26,7883460%12$23,281
Arkansas$26,6793553%34$24,648
North Carolina$26,5833655%30$31,244
Colorado$26,5623750%36$31,396
Nebraska$26,0263857%24$26,436
Idaho$25,9423960%12$18,778
Alaska$25,9254048%40$24,536
Oklahoma$25,7934147%44$25,067
Louisiana$25,5124248%40$29,661
Arizona$24,7124349%39$27,746
Washington$24,6454450%36$31,186
Florida$24,6294548%40$29,638
Hawaii$23,5774643%50$29,290
Wyoming$23,4444746%46$16,275
California$21,4854847%44$36,347
Nevada$21,2544946%46$24,475
New Mexico$20,9915045%49$20,791
Utah$17,9355140%51$20,769

Source: Institute for College Access & Success