The national student loan debt is some $1.3 trillion. Of this each borrower owes the state roughly $30,000. This is according to a recent report by Lending Tree. And there’re some 54 million new graduates currently in the workforce, 70 percent of whom are yet to clear their student loans. But despite these figures, fresh graduates seem to be headed North East, to the most expensive cities.

According to the online lending agency, some of the most expensive cities you will catch up with the graduates include Boston, San Francisco, Irvin, and California. The cost of life in these cities you can guess; generally way over and above the national average. A two -bedroom apartment in CA for instance costs roughly $3,000. This means you’d need nearly $150,000 a year to afford it.

To push the irony a little further, most fresh graduates earn about $50, 000 yearly and pay about $300 on average on student loans monthly according to the agency. This is roughly 14 percent of their net income, assuming they take home some $4,100 every month before chopping off federal and state taxes, Medicare, social security and a 401 (k) as well as Auto and other insurance costs.

It would be interesting then to know why they choose to live what is clearly beyond their means. However, it seems they are lured to these cities by career opportunities and high starting salaries. In most case the graduates move in disregard of the total cost of life in those cities vis-à-vis other state headquarters where the general cost of living is reasonably cheaper and salaries fairly good.

This comes in the backdrop of the fact that most college graduates have expressed some remorse regarding their education. According to Lending Tree, more than half admitted feeling financial regret over their post-secondary college choices and loan obligations. That most of the graduates wish they had chosen more affordable colleges while more than 10% regretting attending college

In their study, which surveyed slightly more than 1,300 new graduates in their late 20s and early 30s; the online lending marketplace advices that it is important for the graduates to consider total cost of living before making the decision to go North East. That, it would help if they paid a little more attention to other cities where the cost of living is generally lower and salaries even better.

“Too often, graduates choose cities based on career opportunities and higher starting salaries but overlook the bigger picture that it would help to think about where to get the highest return,” said Doug Lebda, founder and CEO of LendingTree.