Adjusting to life post-college can be tough — paying rent and bills, financing a social life, and earning an often meager salary is hard enough.
Slap thousands of dollars in student loan debt on top of that, and it’s easy to start feeling helpless.
But choosing the right state to live in could go a long way toward making the transition more manageable.
But according to new data from student-loan information site Student Loan Hero, repaying your student debt may be more affordable in some US states, thanks to low cost of living and strong earning potential.
Affordability for repayment is defined by the government as loan payments equal to 10% or less of an individual’s monthly disposable income. Student Loan Hero found the disposable income of the average worker in every US state (except for North Dakota due to insufficient data) using cost of living data by Coli.org and state mean wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Disposable income for each state was then compared to typical payments on the average student debt balance of a 2014 graduate in each state, based on a 10-year repayment term, assuming a 4% interest rate.
Below, check out the five states where student loan repayment is most affordable. Note that all cost of living figures were adjusted by Coli.org to reflect a national average of 100.
Average student loan balance: $25,840
Average annual wage: $51,180
Ratio of student payments to disposable income: 13.86%
Cost of living index: 98.8
Average student loan balance: $24,600
Average annual wage: $54,010
Ratio of student payments to disposable income: 13.33%
Cost of living index: 103.7
Average student loan balance: $22,683
Average annual wage: $45,850
Ratio of student payments to disposable income: 13.31%
Cost of living index: 97.2