Best and Worst Places for Women to Repay Student Loans

It’s no secret that Americans are burdened by student loan debt.

You've probably heard the statistic: Americans owe $1.48 trillion in student debt. It’s unlikely that will go down anytime soon, either. Students today graduate with $30,000 in student debt. So, with tens of thousands of students collecting their diplomas every year, the true cost of a college education is staggering.

But is the cost of college equal for everyone? We wanted to find out if the gender pay gap means student loan debt affects women more than men.

Let’s take a closer look.

The True Cost of the Gender Pay Gap

Meet Tom and Sarah.

Tom and Sarah are college seniors studying Marketing. They study at a public university in California and expect to graduate with similar GPAs. Sarah, like Tom, has secured a prestigious place on a graduate scheme at a top marketing company based in San Diego. Like most of their friends, Tom and Sarah are excited to leave college and make a name for themselves in the world of work.

Fast forward two years later. Tom and Sarah are excelling at their jobs. On the surface, everything is great. But Tom has recently put a deposit down on a one-bedroom apartment in the city. Sarah, on the other hand, is commuting from her rundown house in the suburbs which she shares with three friends.

Why is that?

Sarah is still making student debt repayments while Tom isn’t. Tom paid off his debt months ago with the extra money he earns every month in his marketing job compared to Sarah. Despite Tom and Sarah both being hard-working with nearly identical skills and training, the fact of the matter is that Sarah is paid less because of her gender.

In every U.S. state, it takes female college graduates months longer to pay off their student loans than men. Nine and half months, in fact.

The discrepancy is due to the difference in men and women’s salaries in every state. On average, American women earn $10,000 less than men. That works out to over $800 per month. With that much extra pocket money, it’s no surprise that Tom was able to slingshot from debt-ridden student to a proud homeowner in just two years.

Where it Takes Women Longest to Pay Off their Student Loans

State

No of Years it Takes Women to Become Debt-free

No of Years it Takes Men to Become Debt Free

% Difference

Maine

5.3

3.5

53%

Vermont

4.7

3.2

48%

Wyoming

2.9

2.0

45%

West Virginia

6.1

4.3

42%

Ohio

4.9

3.5

40%

In Maine, Vermont, Wyoming, West Virginia and Ohio women are in debt 40-50% longer than men in their state after graduating from college. Why? Because they get paid less once they start working.

It’s clear that the gender pay gap has a massive impact on the day-to-day life of American women, inside and outside of the workplace.

So, where are the best places for women to live and work if women want to become debt-free the fastest?

We crunched the numbers to work out the top 10 places live and work (and the answers may surprise you.)

The Best Places for Student Loan Repayments

State

No of Years it Takes Women to Become Debt-free

Utah

1.9

Florida

1.9

New Mexico

2.2

Alaska

2.5

California

2.6

Washington

2.8

Arizona

2.8

Wyoming

2.9

North Carolina

3.0

Colorado

3.1

Why do Utah, Florida and New Mexico come out on top?

Men and women earn good wages in these states, meaning that the gender pay gap is relatively small.

In Florida, men earn an average of $68,932 per year whereas women earn $61,718. That’s one of the smallest wage gaps in the country. As a result, female and male graduates in Florida can expect to be debt-free in under two years.

Thankfully, things are changing for the better. The gender pay gap is narrowing, but it’s clear from our research that men and women still face very different financial landscapes after graduation. Women who go to college have to cope with debt far longer than men in every U.S. state.

Hopefully by shining a light on this issue we can help move society closer to wage equality.

Expert Market found the best and worst places for recent college graduates to pay off their student loans using data from Student Loan Hero (2018).

Please share your thoughts and own business experiences with us in the comments below.

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