(NAPSI)óAccording to the U.S. Department of Education, Americans owe more than $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. Thatís nearly the gross domestic product of all of Australia. The average U.S. college graduate has nearly $38,000 in student loan debt.

Whatís more, the Teens & Careers Survey by Junior Achievement USA (JA) found that a majority of teens hadnít taken or werenít sure if they had taken any steps to pay for the schooling required for their career choice, and 41 percent didnít know how they would fund the cost of training or school.

The fact is, most Americans are borrowing more for college than theyíre able to pay off in a reasonable timeóbut there is a place to which to turn.

Given the challenges of growing student debt, Junior Achievement, the nationís leading nonprofit economic education organization, has a free resource that can help teens and their parents calculate a reasonable rate of return for studentsí college loans.

Called JA Build Your Future, itís a free app that helps break down the cost of reaching oneís goals into real, usable numbers.

It also helps teens explore more than 100 careers and then calculate a reasonable amount of money to borrow given their potential level of income.

ďOur young people need tools to help them make informed decisions about how much to borrow, given what their future potential income might be,Ē explained Jack Kosakowski, president and CEO of Junior Achievement USA.

The app is at www.ja.org/Apps.

On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)