Cutting College Costs - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Cutting College Costs

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(NBC News) There is a growing trend in America: Starting your drive for a bachelor's degree at your nearby community college.

It's a good way to save money. Seventy percent of them are leaving school with substantial debt hanging over their heads. 

One university in Maryland is helping students cut those costs by working with two-year schools in a new way. 

William LaCourse is a dean and professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

He has a passion for helping students who've transferred from community colleges because that's what he did. 

"I was first generation," LaCourse says. "I had no one to tell me what to do, so I made every mistake in the book."

He says two and four-year schools have the same objective of helping students succeed. 

"I've been using that knowledge, here on campus, and expanding our relationship with community colleges so we can start the journey, not the day they start here at UMBC, but the day they start at the community college," he says.

Tobi Tunde-Alli is one of UMBC's success stories.

Born in Nigeria, he came to the United States five years ago. Now he's graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering. 

He started at a community college to save money. 

"I actually saved about $43,000 by going to a community college first, for two years, before transferring to UMBC," Tunde-Alli says.

About one in four Americans are paying off student loans. The average college graduate is facing $37,000 in debt. 

Tunde-Alli's is much less.

"I'm graduating with about, less than $10,000 in student loans," he says. 

His advice: Start at a two-year school. 

"That way you save a lot of money like I did, and you are still able to get the experience of the community college and the four-year university," he advises. 

It's already paying off. He starts a new job with General Electric, as an engineer, in July. 

Read more: https://nbcnews.to/2HaNwPM

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