Student loan debt in America stands at $1.7 trillion, reports CNBC. That’s more than the debt Americans have from credit cards and car loans. The massive amount of student loan debt is frequently cited as a reason young adults are putting off starting families and buying homes—they just can’t afford to with all their student loan debt.
President Biden has promised to take steps to tackle America’s student debt problem. On Wednesday, his administration announced an overhaul to some parts of the federal student loan system. However, what Biden has yet to announce is when he will make good on a campaign promise to cancel some student loan debt. As CNBC reports, it’s expected that Biden will eventually announce student loan forgiveness of up to $10,000 per person. Yet many Democrats want him to do more, by forgiving up to $50,000 worth of federal student loans per person.
But how popular is the concept of student loan forgiveness across America?
Thanks to My eLearning World and Mindnet Analytics, we now have some idea. The two firms used U.S. demographic data and search trends on student loan forgiveness to find out which states had the most interest in the subject before and after COVID-19, when financial pressures hit many hard. According to their report, the top 10 states with people with the most increased interest in student loan forgiveness were:
- South Dakota
What’s interesting is the states showing the most increased interest in student loan forgiveness don’t directly correlate to the states with the highest averages of student loan debt per person. As a 2021 report by the Institute for College Access and Success showed, the 10 states with the highest average levels of student loan debt for the class of 2020 were:
- New Hampshire: $39,928
- Delaware: $39,705
- Pennsylvania: $39,375
- Rhode Island: $36,791
- Connecticut: $35,853
- New Jersey: $35,117
- Vermont: $34,866
- Massachusetts: $33,457
- District of Columbia: $32,966
- Maine: $32,764
As CNBC notes, more than 10 million Americans were behind on their student loan payments even before the pandemic and more than 3 million Americans had student loan debt of more than $100,000. For them, Biden’s decision on student loan forgiveness can’t come soon enough.