I just graduated medical school in June. I just received the official loan consolidation information from Sallie Mae. Please help me to understand the details. I confess that my knowledge of finance is rudimentary. The amount I have to pay every month is too high for me, and I'm really worried about how I can survive in the future. The amount financed is $ 137,656.69. The letter says this is my unpaid principal. The annual interest rate of the loan is 2.875%. Those two numbers I understand. It then says my finance charges is $68,405.09. Thus, when I do finish paying back my loans, I will have paid $206,061.78. Starting January 2006, I have to pay $572.45 every month. Can anybody tell me how they calculated my finance charges of the 68,405.09? That seems to be awfully high. The $572 a month is steep for me. My rent each month is close to $1100. My residency pays me after all the deductions $2300 a month. Thus, each month I have 2300-1100-572 or $628 per month left for gas, food, and so forth.