College student loan debt in Washington was sixth lowest in the country in 2018, the House College and Workforce Development Committee heard Thursday.

In addition, loan default rates are less than half the national average.

“When you’re comparing us to other states we look really good,” Council of Presidents Executive Director Paul Francis told the committee, meeting on the first of two days of Olympia committee meetings for the House of Representatives. The Council of Presidents represents Washington’s six public baccalaureate institutions, including WSU.

The high rankings do not yet account for new state investments in financial aid, approved earlier this year, that will further reduce financial pressure.

Francis referenced a report published in August by LendEDU which showed that among students who graduated from Washington baccalaureate institutions in 2018 with loan debt, average debt was $23,671. That’s higher only than in the states of Utah, New Mexico, Alaska, California and Nevada. And half of students graduated with no debt at all.

Francis’ presentation also referenced unemployment rates that fall with higher levels of education, from 4.1 percent for high school graduates in Washington down to 1.5 percent for graduates with a professional degree.

You can watch Francis’ presentation below.