If you attend or graduated from a college in the Northeast, chances are you are among the highest student loan borrowers in the country.

That’s according to a report by LendEDU, who with the help of Peterson’s financial survey, analyzed student loan debt at nearly 1,000 four-year private and public higher education institutions across the U.S.

The annual “Student Loan Debt by School by State Report” found that a good portion of the 45 million Americans carrying around the $1.56 trillion in U.S. student loan debt, are concentrated in the Northeast.

In fact, nine of the 12 states burdened with student loan debt are in that region. Leading the pack are schools in the New England area. Connecticut is on top with an average $38,776 per student loan borrower. New Hampshire followed with $36,754 and Rhode Island with an average of $36,121 borrowed by students.

Interestingly enough, six of the states with the highest average student loan debt per borrower are home to seven of the eight Ivy League colleges. Starting with Connecticut, home to Yale University; New Hampshire, home to Dartmouth; and Rhode Island, home to Brown University.

Pennsylvania, the home of University of Pennsylvania, ranks fourth among the highest borrowers with $35,510.  New Jersey, where Princeton University is located, is ranked seventh with $33,593 and New York with two Ivy League schools – Columbia University and Cornell University – round out the top 12 with $31,523.

California, the only other state with an Ivy League school – Stanford University – ranked fourth among those with the lowest average student loan debt with $22,530. Western states fared much better than the northeastern states.

But Mike Brown, a research analyst at LendEDU, cautions not to read too much into that. Instead, Brown attributes the heavy student loan debt in the Northeast to the high cost of living in those areas.

“The cost of living in the Northeast (except for California) is the highest in the U.S.,” Brown said, pointing out that student loans are not just used for tuition but for room and board, books and other expenses. “So to cover those cost, students might take on more.’’

And when it comes to the elite schools, Brown said they are more proactive in assisting students with college costs. He noted that they have ample endowment funds and he also pointed out that many of the students at those colleges are from a more affluent background and may not need assistance.

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