Wondering what the student debt picture looks like at schools you’re interested in? The New York Times has a new calculator here that shows specific schools’ graduates’ average debt levels, plus what the monthly payment on those debts looks like, how much interest you’ll pay, and how much the new graduate would need to earn in order for that debt to be affordable.
The calculator defaults to Stafford loans’ interest rates and a 10-year repayment term, but lets you change any of the input values and model making a larger payment. As to affordability, it shows both the rule-of-thumb of borrowing no more than your anticipated first-year salary, and the salary that would be required to limit your debt repayment to 20% of discretionary income. (The site defines discretionary income as the income exceeding 150% of the federal poverty line for a single person.)