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Many college graduates are struggling to pay back their student loans. Fortunately, future students can learn from their mistakes and become smarter borrowers. I’m Clark Palmer with your Bankrate.com personal finance minute.

Here are three tips on finding out how much student loan debt you can afford.

First, you must be able to make your student loan payments from your post-college paycheck. One year of salary can be a good benchmark.

Next, guesstimate what you’ll earn after college. While you’re in college, review internship opportunities and job postings to find out what skills are required. That will help you learn what salaries and jobs will be available after graduation.

And be sure to choose the right school, based on how much aid you’ll receive and the amount of debt you’ll have to take on.

Also, find out how successful former students are at paying back their debt. If a lot of students are deferring or defaulting on their loans, it might be because they can’t get a job. That reflects poorly on the training they received at the school.

For more tips on managing student loans, visit Bankrate.com. I’m Clark Palmer