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With college costs going nowhere but up, the idea of getting a four-year degree might seem overwhelming from a financial perspective. Case in point: For the previous academic year, tuition alone at a four-year in-state public school cost an average of $9,970 on an annual basis, while out-of-state tuition cost an average of $25,620 a year.

And there lies the appeal of the two-year degree, which can be completed in half the time and for a fraction of the cost of a four-year degree. Best of all, you won’t necessarily resign yourself to a lifetime of low earnings by going the two-year degree route.

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