In a new study of student loan debt by state, Maine ranks eighth highest in the country.
According to a report released by The Institute for College Access & Success, the average student debt at graduation in 2018 was $32,676 in Maine.
Student Debt and the Class of 2018, the institute's 14th annual report on the topic, finds wide variations in debt levels across states as well as colleges.
The national average student debt for four-year graduates in the class of 2018 was $29,200.
Of the top 10 states for student loan debt, the first eight were in the northeast: Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, District of Columbia and Maine, followed by two states in the Midwest, Minnesota and Michigan. The five states with the lowest debt rate were all in the West: Utah, New Mexico, California, Nevada, and Washington.
At 61 percent, Maine ranked 15th for new graduates’ probability of having debt; neighboring New Hampshire ranked first, with 76 percent of students likely to have debt. At the other end of the spectrum, ranking lowest was Utah, where 36 percent of students were likely to have debt.
The report also surveyed debt levels at specific colleges in each state; some in Maine include:
• Bates College, where 35 percent of students graduated with debt and the average debt was $21,525.
• At Bowdoin College, 27 percent of students had debt when graduating; the average amount was $25,482.
• For the University of Maine, 78 percent of students graduated with debt and the average debt was $33,890.
• At the University of Maine at Presque Isle, the 62 percent of students who graduated with debt owed an average of $20,248.
• At the University of New England, 94 percent of students graduated with debt and the average debt was $40,683.
Among Maine schools surveyed that did not report debt data were Husson University, Unity College and University of Southern Maine.