Graduates of Mississippi colleges and universities more often than not find themselves behind a financial eight-ball as soon as they accept their diplomas, leave their dorms and head out into the real world.
They carry with them more student-loan debt than graduates from most other states, according to a recent ranking.
The average loan debt of a Mississippi student upon graduation is $17,748, compared with the U.S. average of $16,929, according to Student Loan Report.
The student-loan news site ranked the state 34th nationally for graduates with the highest amount of loan debt.
Jackson State University had the highest amount of debt and most graduates in debt, with an average of $32,274 for 88 percent of its grads.
Alcorn State University had the second-highest percentage at 83 percent and an average of $28,744.
Among the three biggest universities in the state, University of Southern Mississippi students held the highest loan debt of $20,085; Mississippi State University students had an average debt of $16,425; and Ole Miss students an average of $13,769 upon graduation, according to the rankings.
Louisiana was ranked the fourth best state for student debt and Alabama was ranked 11th.
Student Loan Report estimates there are more than 43 million student-loan borrowers holding about $1.3 trillion in debt throughout the nation. They calculated student-loan debt grows by $2,726 every second.