Boston, MA– If you decided to step outside this Saturday, you were privileged to see trees in full bloom, couples walking hand in hand by the Charles, and young children running about. You probably also saw swarms of parents, siblings, cousins and more who flood the city every weekend in May for the countless college commencement ceremonies that take place this time of year.
If you, or any friends of yours, are recently graduating college, that now tends to come with a burden: student debt. WalletHub put together a study to find which cities have the most student debt, which has risen astronomically in recent decades.
Firstly, if you've been living under a rock, let's look at why student debt is a thing. Basically, college is wildly expensive, and most families in America can't pay full tuition to schools that their children are accepted to. So, they have no choice other than requesting a loan to help pay for it, with the assumption that the student will have no trouble paying it off after graduating and landing a spectacular job. In fact, student loan debt is the second highest form of debt (behind home mortgages); the total amount of student debt in the U.S. adds up to 1.5 trillion dollars.
That number increases also with interest. The sooner you pay off your loans post-graduation, the less interest you'll pay! Yet, that's not always a possibility going into a first time job that doesn't pay well, along with rising rents in Boston.
In order to calculate student loan debt levels per city, the study did something very simple: they figured out what the median student debt was in a city and what the median salary was for people with college degrees was. Then, they just compared the two.
For example, the city with the most educational debt was Sun City West, Arizona. There, the median student debt is $17,000, but the median salary for people with college degrees is $21,000. That means, if graduates in Sun City West wanted to pay off all their student loans in the year after they graduated, almost all their income would have to go towards their debt. Hopefully Mom and Dad are eager to welcome those grads home.
The city with the least problems was Santa Paula, California. Here, the median debt is $10,000, and the median salary is $70,000! Meaning, within the first year of working, most individuals living in Santa Paula could easily pay off all their student debt with relative ease.
So how is Boston, relatively? We did okay, not great. The median debt in Boston is $25,000, with a median salary of $60,000. That amount of debt is still very high, but you could argue within 5 years of smart financial decisions, Bostonians could pay that off.
But who knows, maybe college will be free someday, and we'll solve global warming and achieve world peace.