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Study: Ohio near top of state student debt load

Student+debt
Student debt

According to a WalletHub report released last week, Ohio ranks sixth in overall student indebtedness.

A WalletHub news release said the website “compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 12 key measures of indebtedness and earning opportunities” with data including average student debt and unemployment rate among 25-to-34 year olds. Pennsylvania topped the list while Utah was at the bottom.

Here is how some Ohio cities ranked in terms of student-loan indebtedness (1st percentile = most in debt):

  • Toledo: 7th percentile
  • Akron: 10th percentile
  • Dayton: 13th percentile
  • Cleveland: 19th percentile
  • Cincinnati: 25th percentile
  • Columbus: 31st percentile

Orangeburg, South Carolina topped the national list with the most student debt relative to its residents’ incomes.

“The median student loan debt per person in Orangeburg is $28,034, and the median annual income for people with at least a bachelor’s degree is $33,372,” said WalletHub Analyst Cassandra Happe. “The combination of high student debt and a low income means that the average Orangeburg resident has an 84% debt-to-income ratio for student loans. The average debt-to-income ratio for student loans is around 33.9% nationwide.”

Opinions on the impact of student debt vary.

“Outstanding student loan debt has made it harder for young adults to become financially stable or to afford the ‘markers’ of the middle class,” said A. Mechele Dickerson, professor at The University of Texas at Austin. “One reason homeownership rates have stalled for young adults is that they cannot afford to repay their loans and also save enough for a downpayment on a home.”

But Randall LaSalle, a professor in the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, said while the individuals feel the burden, the nation’s economy probably doesn’t.

“The press probably overstates the problem for the ‘economy as a whole,’ ” he said. “Clearly, it is a problem for the debtor, but to the extent the loans will never be paid off anyway, it does not matter much if that debt is written off sooner rather than later. Mostly, it is merely accounting journal entries on the government’s ledger and has nearly no real effect on cash flows.”

Read the complete report here.

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