Analysis and Methodology for State Budget/Student Loan Debt Evaluation


State Budget Data:

State Budget Data was taken directly from a Ballotpedia publication, which utilized the most recent data (2017) provided by the National Association of State Budget Officers.  The data was used as published.

Student Loan Data:

Source data was taken from the Department of Education’s Dataset: loan portfolio by state and loan size. We subtracted loans in both the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico out of the data.  “Other”, and “Not Reported” loans (which total $112.24 Billion) were distributed among the states proportional to their reported debt.  This revealed an outstanding loan portfolio (excluding DC and Puerto Rico) totalling $1.552 Trillion (see Table II below).

For private student loans, we assumed a total value of $140 Billion after reviewing several disparate data sources. 

In addition, there is a significant loan volume in the country where people refinanced their federal student loans with private banks through home-equity loans, bundled home mortgages, or other private lending instruments.  The cumulative value of loans refinanced this way is not known.

Also, as noted on the Finaid website, there may be a significant amount of interest for federal loans that is not being reported by the Department of Education.  This could increase the portfolio value by “6-7%”, which could mean as much as $109 Billion.  The Department of Education has been contacted and queried about this, but they have not answered this question.

Because neither of these missing data (private refinancing and unreported interest) can be found, we assumed a cumulative value of $100 Billion, and distributed this among the states proportional to state population.

This gave a total student debt figure of about $1.8 Trillion, distributed as shown in Table I below.

For these reasons, we believe that our final estimate for total student loan debt is reasonably accurate, and could be far below the true value depending upon the extent of unreported private refinancing, and unreported interest for federal loans.

Note:  The Department of Education has been contacted to determine precisely how much interest is not being reported, but we have yet to receive a response.

Table I:  Total student loan debt by state (includes both federal and private loans)

Table II:  Federal Student Loan Debt Only

State Federal Student Loans Only
Alabama $24,384,360,000
Alaska $2,425,500,000
Arizona $32,383,120,000
Arkansas $13,485,780,000
California $151,049,360,000
Colorado $29,752,800,000
Connecticut $17,927,140,000
Delaware $4,829,440,000
Florida $103,423,320,000
Georgia $70,878,500,000
Hawaii $4,678,520,000
Idaho $7,459,760,000
Illinois $64,658,440,000
Indiana $31,391,360,000
Iowa $13,970,880,000
Kansas $13,194,720,000
Kentucky $20,535,900,000
Louisiana $23,230,900,000
Maine $6,414,100,000
Maryland $37,417,380,000
Massachusetts $31,984,260,000
Michigan $53,813,760,000
Minnesota $27,887,860,000
Mississippi $16,838,360,000
Missouri $31,057,180,000
Montana $4,355,120,000
Nebraska $8,300,600,000
Nevada $12,019,700,000
New Hampshire $6,726,720,000
New Jersey $43,659,000,000
New Mexico $8,128,120,000
New York $97,332,620,000
North Carolina $50,482,740,000
North Dakota $2,630,320,000
Ohio $65,617,860,000
Oklahoma $15,997,520,000
Oregon $21,193,480,000
Pennsylvania $67,428,900,000
Rhode Island $4,743,200,000
South Carolina $28,933,520,000
South Dakota $3,773,000,000
Tennessee $32,458,580,000
Texas $122,568,600,000
Utah $10,413,480,000
Vermont $3,007,620,000
Virginia $44,187,220,000
Washington $29,159,900,000
West Virginia $7,556,780,000
Wisconsin $24,427,480,000
Wyoming $1,735,580,000