Michigan Law students recently gained access to the new “Debt Wizard” mobile application, which makes financial uncertainties a little bit clearer by calculating debt and suggesting ways to pay it off.

The app, released last month, combines projected costs of the Law School along with expected annual salaries after graduation, among other aspects, to predict and approximate future debt.

Sarah Zearfoss, an assistant Law dean, introduced the application to the student body.

“The Debt Wizard helps to fulfill our obligation—speaking both generally as an institution of higher education and specifically as a public university — to provide some tools to grapple with the considerable complexities,” Zearfoss said in a statement.

Debt Wizard presents 11,000 different repayment routes to inform students of their payback options. Students can calculate their costs simply by inputting their expected level of annual salary, geographical market, debt level and type of employment. In turn, the app shows the monthly income needed to balance debt, housing costs and other living expenses.

The resulting debt calculation is based upon the four most widely used federal payment plans by law students and the National Association for Law Placement’s salary levels. The geographic markets, in contrast, are defined by national trends and include big cities across the nation.

Zearfoss said the app was initially a project for her office, but many other units contributed as well.

One of the contributors, Konstantin Voyk, who works in IT at the Law School, said he worked on developing a visual design that would display calculation results in a simplified, accessible way.

“The main challenge was coming up with how we can visualize it because it’s a lot of data,” Voyk said. “We want to show financial information to students, and the new generation is very visual.”

On the prospect of expansion plans, Voyk added the app development team is currently thinking about expanding the number of cities and regions to allow for more choices and accuracy.

Student feedback has been encouraging, Zearfoss said.

Alyce Thompson, a student at both the Law School and School of Urban Planning, said she thinks the tool can be useful in a universal way.

“The Debt Wizard is a great tool for informing prospective students on the realities of debt they’ll be facing when they graduate,” Thompson said. She added that its especially helpful for understanding costs of different cities.

The calculations are not guaranteed to be more accurate than a rough estimation, but by simplifying the monetary complexities of life after school, students can close the app more informed than they were before opening it.

The Debt Wizard is available to all students on the Law School website.

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