Student loan calculators, such as the one at FinAid.org, can help you get a sense of the monthly payments, including interest, and what salary would be required to pay the money back over certain time periods. If scholarship offers don't meet your expectations, experts point out that this is an opportune time to try to negotiate.
Prospective students should also explore schools' loan repayment assistance programs, as well as those offered by the federal government and certain states. Those who work in certain public-interest jobs might qualify for total loan forgiveness after 10 years of employment and on-time payments.
More than 100 law schools offer their own version of loan repayment assistance programs, or LRAPs, according to Equal Justice Works (which writes a student loan blog for U.S. News). The University of Virginia's School of Law, for example, will cover 100 percent of the payment amount for public-interest workers making $55,000 or less annually.
This story is excerpted from the U.S. News Best Graduate Schools 2014 guidebook, which features in-depth articles, rankings, and data.