SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A possible forgiveness of federal student loan debt or any related change could impact about 130,500 student borrowers in South Dakota that the New York Federal Reserve said existed in 2020.

The average student loan debt in South Dakota was $28,600 in 2020, according to the Federal Reserve of New York.

But some reports from 2021 show higher loan debt and fewer students.

The Education Data Initiative has 113,000 student borrowers in the state that owe on average $31,900. The average student loan debt for the Class of 2020 is $32,029, according to the Institute for College Access & Success.

That’s similar to which has an average of $31,129 in student loan debt. estimated it would take South Dakotans about 14 years to pay off their debt based on an average payment of $191.74.

Lending Tree uses $30,317 for the average debt of federal and private student loans.

All that personal debt adds up to $3.6 billion in student loan debt attached to South Dakota residents, according to the Education Data Initiative.

Proponents of forgiving all or a substantial amount of student loan debt said it would stimulate the economy and offset the loss in repayment of federal loans. It would allow those in debt to make other purchases such as a house, vehicle and other items. It would also help offset the trend toward increased private debt for college costs.

Opponents of forgiving all or some of the student loan debt said it would not create a large enough multiplying impact. It would not create as much additional cash that would be spent. Opponents also say a broad approach does not account for those already paying back loans and the reasons that loans are in default now, including minority loan holders that may have needed to leave college.

The Brookings Institute said student loan debt is the second largest household debt. One in eight Americans has student loans.

Lending Tree said “Americans owe over $1.71 trillion in student loan debt, spread out among about 44.7 million borrowers.” That’s about $739 billion more than the total U.S. credit card debt.

73% of all grads have student loans. 13% of the South Dakota population has student loans, according to Education Data.

In South Dakota, 73% of all 2019 graduates had student loans. About 13% of the population has student loans. At the estimated 2020 state population of 886,667 that is about 115,266 people. According to, 60% of those who owe money are under 35.

In 2019, the average federal student loan interest rate was 3.73% for undergraduates and 5.28% and 6.28% for graduate students, according to a 2020 report by the Institute for College Access & Success.

The average interest rate for a private loan was 10.2%.

What’s the debt load in neighboring states?

Two neighboring states have an average student loan debt of under $30,000 in 2020, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York

There are 459,800 Iowa residents with an average student loan debt of $29,600.

The average student loan debt in North Dakota was $27,100. The state has 96,500 residents with debt.

Minnesota has more individuals with student loan debt than South Dakota has people.

The state has 888,7000 individuals who owed an average of $32,200 in 2020.

Wyoming’s 54,600 borrowers owe on average $30,1000 while Nebraska’s average debt for 264,200 individuals is $31,300.

Like South Dakota, most individuals in those five states who owe student loans are under 35.

The larger the state’s population, the larger the total student loan debt that residents have. The total debt in Iowa is $13.2 billion, it’s $26.3 billion in Minnesota and $7.8 billion in Nebraska.

North Dakota, which has fewer people than South Dakota, has a $2.5 billion in total student loan debt. Wyoming’s debt is $1.6 billion. Wyoming’s population is 567,851 and North Dakota’s is about 779,000.

The figures are from Education Data Initiative.

Who owes $30,000 and who owes less?

While the average debt load in a six-state region may be around $30,000, the breakdown of how many owe much larger or smaller amounts sheds more light on the status.

Twenty-three percent of those who have student loan debt owe between $20,000 and $40,000 in Iowa, according to

Numbers are similar for Wyoming, North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota.

Far fewer owe more than $200,000. For example, 1.2% owe more than $200,000 in South Dakota. Such a debt load would often be for someone with advanced degrees such as a master’s degree or doctorate.

Fewer than 16% in five states owe less than $5,000 in student loans. About 19% owe less than $5,000 in Wyoming.

What are student loans used for?

Students use loans to pay for college costs at public and private institutions.

While the costs to attend a public college is generally less than a private college, there are still costs.

Lendedu broke down some of the costs for private and public colleges in the six states.

Lendedu said the average student loan debt at Dakota State University in 2019 was $27,928. It was $28,363 at the University of South Dakota, $29,635 at Northern State University and $33,476 at South Dakota State University. Those figures are federal loans and do not include any private loans.

The college with one of the highest average debt per student in Iowa was Wartburg College in Waverly at $39,559, according to Lendedu.

In Minnesota, the University of Northwestern in St. Paul was at $44,561.

The average student debt for Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, was $32,103.

The average student debt for North Dakota State University in Fargo was $33,639.

Lendedu said the University of Wyoming in Laramie had an average student debt load of $23,44.

Why get student loans?

The simple answer for obtaining a student loan is to pay for college.

The increased costs of college and related debt load often sparks discussion about the value of a two-year or four-year degree. Lots of discussion focuses on pay.

A Georgetown study showed that earners with a bachelor’s degree make more over their lifetime than earners with an associate’s degree. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other media have reported on studies that say graduates with bachelor’s degrees get a healthier return on their investment than those with associate’s degrees.

Also, research supports the value of a two-year associate’s degree or technical degree over a high school diploma.

College graduates with a bachelor’s degree typically earn 66% more than those with only a high school diploma; and are also far less likely to face unemployment, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

An MIT study released in 2020 on increased automation in the workforce from 1991 to 2007 said each additional robot in manufacturing on average replaced 3.3 workers.