BALTIMORE (9/14/10)--Mike Schenk, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) vice president of economics and statistics, was featured in The Baltimore Sun in an article about strategies to help students counter climbing student loan debt. Student debt reached nearly $830 million in June, exceeding credit card debt. Students should consider how much post-college income they will make when taking out loans, the Sun said (Sept. 12). Many students aren’t sure what career path to take, but they can use average starting salaries to get a ballpark figure, Schenk told the newspaper. Students can contact college placement offices to find out what jobs grads are finding and how much they pay. Or, they can look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook online for details about specific jobs, he added. Students’ expected starting salaries after graduation should be a factor in figuring out how much student debts to take on, but a survey last year by Sallie Mae indicated that 58% of families didn’t factor starting salaries in when they took out student loans. Also, the average debt for graduating seniors jumped to $23,200, a 24% increase in four years, according to the Project on Student Debt. The typical starting salary for 2010 graduates dropped to $48,288 from one year earlier, said the National Association of Colleges and Employers.