Student Loan Debt Guestimator

Before you borrow thousands of dollars to pay for a low residency MFA program, use this calculator to try to guestimate your future debt.

Ask your financial aid officer for specific information about how much you’ll pay in interest, and what you’ll owe per month after you graduate.

Number of Monthly Payments
Simple Interest Rate %
Principal Amount of Loan
Your Monthly Payment
Total Interest Cost
Estimated Salary Needed


Number of Monthly Payments - After you graduate, you’ll pay back your loan in monthly installments. A typical repayment schedule is 240 payments over 20 years.

Simple Interest Rate - Interest is the fee you pay the bank for loaning you the money. The higher your interest rate the more you pay over time. 6.8% is based on Federal Student Loans. Private loans often have higher interest rates. Rates vary, this is a guestimator.

Principal Amount of Loan - To get the total amount that you will borrow for college, add up the tuition per semester and multiply it times the amount of semesters you plan to be in school. Add another $3,000 to $5,000 per semester if you plan to live off of financial aid payments.

Your Monthly Payment - This is the amount of money that you must pay to your lender every 30 days starting six months after you graduate.

Total Interest Cost - This is what you end up paying the bank to borrow the Principal amount. For instance, if you borrow $50,000 and pay it off over 20 years, you might pay the bank $40,000 in interest. $50,000 + $40,000 = $90,000 in total costs for your art education.

Estimated Salary - This figure is the amount of money you’ll need to earn monthly so you can make your student loan payment and live life with enough money for food, clothing, shelter, and other expenses.