Three of Alabama’s Big 5 cities rank in top 4% of cities with the most student debt

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College graduates owe around $1.521 trillion in student loans — a depressing figure for the many graduates who leave school with debt that exceeds their income.

Among those American cities with most student loan debt are three of Alabama’s Big 5 cities. According to a new study by personal finance website WalletHub, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Montgomery rank among the top four percent of American cities with the most student loan debt.

Taking the top spot of the most student debt in the Yellowhammer State is Tuscaloosa. Ranked in the 98th percentile of cities studied (99th percentile is the highest). Following closely behind each in the 96th percentile are Birmingham and Montgomery.

To determine the cities where Americans are most over-leveraged on their college-related debts, WalletHub analysts divided the median student-loan balance in 2017 by the median earnings of adults age 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree in 2,515 U.S. cities.

Here’s what they found in Alabama:

Student debt in Tuscaloosa (99th percentile = highest):

  • Median student-loan balance: $25,993
  • Median earnings of Bachelor’s degree holders: $41,257
  • Ratio of student debt to median earnings of Bachelor’s degree holders: 63.00% (98th percentile)

Student debt in Montgomery (99th percentile = highest):

  • Median student-loan balance: $25,490
  • Median earnings of Bachelor’s degree holders: $42,964
  • Ratio of student debt to median earnings of Bachelor’s degree holders: 59.33% (96th percentile)

Student debt in Birmingham (99th percentile = highest):

  • Median student-loan balance: $24,514
  • Median earnings of Bachelor’s degree holders: $41,335
  • Ratio of student debt to median earnings of Bachelor’s degree holders: 59.30% (96th percentile)

Other key findings

  • 42% of students say credit card debt worries them more than student loan debt.
  • 63% of college students say their school is not doing enough to educate them about personal finance.
  • 1 in 3 college students think they’ll be worse off financially than their parents.
  • 1 in 4 students say excellent credit is worth more than a college degree.
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