Data shows average student loan balance for Louisiana residents close to $34,000

Student loan extension impact
Published: Dec. 23, 2021 at 5:33 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 23, 2021 at 7:06 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A lot of people across Louisiana are breathing a little sigh of relief, after President Biden extended a pause of student loan repayments through May 1.

Take Cinnamon Player as an example. She is a graduate from Northwestern State University in Fall of 2019.

“I’ve been checking it like once a month, every once in a while to see did it increase, did it not increase,” said Player, a Baton Rouge resident.

Even with TOPS, she still owes more than $17,000 in student loans.

She’s one of millions of college grads that are getting a little extension to pay them.

“It gives me more time to get myself together for when it starts up again,” said Player.

“Baton Rouge actually has a student loan balance that’s a little higher than the average national student debt average,” said Amanda Push, a writer for LendingTree & Student Loan Hero.

Student Loan Hero is a company that works with people to handle their student loan debt, and they did some research on this subject.

Here are some stats from LendingTree’s student loan debt site, Student Loan Hero.

According to research from Student Loan Hero, in Louisiana, the average balance for both federal and private student loans is $33,823, 8% lower than the U.S. average of $36,689. This puts Louisiana at No. 18 in the country in terms of highest student loan debt. A little over 7% of those borrowers owe $100,000 or more in student loans. In Louisiana, borrowers that are 25 or younger tend to have much lower student loan balances, with federal debt averaging at $14,993 and private debt at $14,013.

- According to Student Loan Hero data, in Baton Rouge, the average student loan balance is even higher than the state’s average balance. Baton Rouge’s average student loan balance sits at $40,305. Within the East Baton Rouge parish, the average student loan balance is $36,989 and average monthly payments are $276.

“So this 90 day extension really gives borrowers more time to save and plan for the moratorium to be lifted,” said Push.

But advocates like Davante Lewis with the Louisiana Budget Project are pushing for a step further.

“If we really want our economy to thrive, then the way to do that is by cancelling student debt,” said Lewis, the director of public affairs and oureach for the Louisiana Budget Project.

Lewis says President Joe Biden has the executive authority to do that.

And by doing so, it would jumpstart the economy even further.

“Nearly 7% of all people who owe a student loan and have debt in the state of Louisiana are 60 and above. So this is not just baout 18 to 24 year olds, this impacts a lot of parents and grandparents, who as the cost of college increased, took out debt for their children,” said Lewis.

Folks like Player know they will probably have to pay these loans at some point in time.

But she’s just happy for a little break.

“It’s good to know that I still have a bit more time to prepare myself for it,” said Player.

Around 41 million borrowers will benefit from the pause on student loan repayments.

Those payments are set to restart next May.

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