For many recent college graduates, the burden of student loan debt can put off big purchases like homes and cars. A new study found that Texas’ cost of living and average annual wages make it one of the best states to live in when paying off student debt.
The annual study, conducted by Student Loan Hero, gauged all 50 states and D.C. on three factors: average student loan balances for 2016 graduates, average annual wages for workers, and cost of living in each state compared to the national average. Texas ranked fifth in the study, up from 11th in the 2016 edition.
According to Student Loan Hero, the average student loan borrower spends around 14.5 percent of their disposable income – the amount left over after covering basic expenses of food, shelter, transportation and health care – on loan payments. The average student loan balance for the class of 2016 is nearly $28,000, and the average annual wage for a student loan borrower was listed by Student Loan Hero at $49,630.
The study found the average student borrower in Texas will devote around 13 percent to loan payments, and has lower average loan balances and average annual wages than the national average.
“Everything’s bigger in Texas — except costs of living and student debt,” Student Loan Hero wrote about Texas. “Both are below average and decreased year over year. 2016 college graduates in Texas will have to devote just 13 percent of their disposable incomes to student loans — compared to the 15 percent the previous year’s class paid.”
The study also noted Texas’ lack of a state income tax as a boost to the bottom line of student loan borrowers. Houston was listed by Student Loan Hero as the Texas city with the highest average wage at $52,870 per year.
Utah topped the list in the 2017 study, with Washington, North Carolina and Colorado all ahead of Texas. Arkansas, Georgia, Nebraska, Virginia and Wyoming round out the top 10.
Hawaii, Maine, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey represented the five worst states to live in for paying off student debt.
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