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New site to calculate potential student loan debt

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Want to calculate how much you could owe on student loans after graduation? A new government website provides tools to help with the math.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau site is in the testing phase but already includes information from 7,500 colleges and universities.

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Users can plug in details such as grant and scholarship offers to compare what they might owe after attending different schools. The site also offers information on graduation and loan-default rates.

A “military benefit calculator’’ allows more than 2 million Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to determine what they could owe after using their GI Bill benefits.

A separate Education Department website also addresses college cost, with information such as the rate of tuition increases at colleges.

“Choosing a school is a big responsibility - one that is too often made difficult by an inability to determine the impact of student loan debt,’’ said Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The bureau says student loan debt has reached $1 trillion, surpassing credit card and auto-loan debt.

On average, graduates owe $25,000.

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