Utah is the best state to pay for college, according to a recent study. Student loans are 2.2 times more affordable than in the worst-ranked state of Hawaii.
Elyssa Kirkham is a researcher from Student Loan Hero, an online resource for students. She said for those attending college, money is what their world revolves around, besides trying to do well in their studies. She said student loan borrowing has gone up 150 percent in the past 10 years, despite the country’s efforts in offering financial aid.
“People are really struggling with figuring out having more than double the amount of debt that they would have had if they had gone to school 10 years ago,” Kirkham said. “How do you deal with that? How do you make that work off of an entry level income when you’re right out of college?”
Student loan debt impacts almost every aspect of your life, Kirkham said. It’s often the main source of financial stress and graduates feel like the debt is slowing down a successful career. 61 percent of student loan borrowers report they’re afraid their student loan stress is spiraling out of control. 70 percent say it gives them headaches. Others said debt impacts their sleep and even negatively impacts their relationships.
“Even parents who were diligently saving and helping to plan their children with these costs, just didn’t really anticipate how expensive college would be today,” Kirkham said.
Kirkham said it’s important to be proactive in how you take care of your college costs. Taking into consideration what college you go to can save a lot of money. Even working while you’re in college has more than just financial benefits, it actually improves your performance because you’re learning how to manage yourself effectively.
These are the kinds of things students in Utah are doing to avoid debt. Utah is the only state where the average student loan debt for 2016 was under $20,000.
“What that speaks to in Utah is really that students here are really aware of their costs,” Kirkham said. “That kind of cultural factor plays into those low costs.”
Relatively low student debt and costs of living were two aspects that labeled Utah as the best state to live in if you have student debt.