Published May 1, 2006 | May 2006 issue
A couple of recent surveys have found that South Dakotans are good at making good on their financial promises.
According to a national survey by Experian, a California-based credit reporting company, South Dakotans have the highest average credit score in the country. A score of 720 points is considered excellent, and 660 is considered poor. South Dakota residents chalked up an average score of 710. Neighboring district states were close behind, all scoring 706 or better. The national average was 678.
Even the state's young folks are responsible with credit. A U.S. Department of Education report shows that South Dakota students have the lowest rate of default for education loans in the country. At 2.5 percent, that's significantly below the national rate of about 4.5 percent.
The single largest pool of borrowers resides at South Dakota State University. Among its 2,000-plus student borrowers in 2003, just 1.1 percent were in default, according to DOE records. Among the five institutions in the state with default rates higher than 4 percent in the recent past, two were public, two were private and one was proprietary.
—Ronald A. Wirtz