Tennessee is middle of the pack in student loan debt

Published 1:41 pm Monday, September 5, 2022

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Tennessee is the 27th-most in debt state related to student loans, according to a new report.

The WalletHub ranking used 11 factors to determine how in debt a state’s former students are by looking at everything from past-due student loan balances to factors that determine the ability to repay those loans for those ages 25 to 34.

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This comes as Pres. Joe Biden announced Wednesday a plan to forgive $10,000 in student loan debt and $20,000 for those with Pell grants for individuals with income under $125,000 per year and families up to $250,000 in income per year. The administration also paused student loan interest again through Dec. 31.

“There are multiple problems with this,” said Tammy Johnston, a Professor of Economics at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. “First, it is a one-time cancellation. Even if people who currently have student debt see some or all of their debt canceled, how about the current and future students that will be taking out student loans? Do we continually keep canceling student debt? Or does the current group of people with student debt just get a free ride?”

After the first quarter of this year, the U.S. Department of Education reported that college-loan balances are at $1.61 trillion, an average of $37,000 for each of the 43.4 million borrowers.

Tennessee ranked 27th in student-loan indebtedness and 22nd for grant and student work opportunities in its list.

West Virginia, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, New Hampshire and Mississippi led the states in debt while Utah, the District of Columbia, California, Washington and New Mexico were at the bottom of the list.