NEW YORK (MainStreet) Generation Progress has released a 50-state fact sheet that tracks the levels of debt in each state in dollar amounts as well by a headcount.
The organization doesn't shy away from the fact that this is intended as much as an organizing tool as a source of information, and that it is aligned with Congressional initiatives to re-finance student loans, particularly a bill introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) that would enable students to re-finance their student loans including old Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) with interest rates above the current Stafford loan rate of 3.86%.
Warren's Bank on Students Emergency Loan Re-Finance Act was riding high in April but shot down in May before being killed by the House in June. Another attempt is expected when Congress returns from its summer recess next month.
"With 40 million borrowers in the U.S. carrying $1.2 trillion in student debt, nearly one in five households is affected," said Lauren Sills, advocacy associate at Generation Progress. "We released 50 fact sheets to show just how many borrowers in each state could benefit from student loan refinancing.
With the total U.S. population just north of 315 million, according to the US Census Bureau on July 1, 2013, there was an estimated 175 million people in the ten most populous stateCalifornia, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, Michigan and North Carolina.
Generation Progress finds that about half of the borrowers in each state would benefit from refinancing their student loans. There were about 26,070,000 people with student loans in those states. Some 12,924,000 would catch a break in a loan re-finance--the kind available to people with home mortgages, credit cards and auto loans, but not student loans.
According to figures from The Institute for College Access and Success (Ticas) in Oakland, the dollar amount of outstanding loans in the top ten states is some $607 billion, out of a national total of nearly $1.3 trillion.
Smaller states hew to a similar pattern. Alabama, for example, with a population of 4.82 million, has 575,000 people with student loans. 343,000 would be eligible for refinancing, according to Generation Progress. Total student loan debt in the state is $15,155,514,000. Wyoming, the smallest state in the union by population has 582,658 people; 59,000 have student loans. Still, the amount of outstanding loans is over a billion dollars at toward $1.3 trillion.
Generation Progress began as Campus Progress in 2004 before becoming the youth wing of the Center for American Progress, based in Washington, D.C. It has since been rebranded and operates as a grass roots organizing entity.
"Our purpose is to engage Millennials," said spokesperson Jamal Little.
Born roughly between the early 1980s to the early 2000s, Generation Progress claims that the Millennials' population is about 90 million in the United States.
--Written by John Sandman for MainStreet