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Apr 12, 2017 01:21 PM EDT

The Maine Community College System and the University of Maine System offers a way for students to graduate from college with less debt. They also offer taking college courses while in high school.

Naima Noor, 25, a graduating student from the University of Southern Maine's Lewiston-Auburn College has a student loan debt of about $16,000 thanks to the program. The average student loan debt for a recent college graduate in Maine is $29,000.

Noor volunteered and got involved with the children with special needs, it led her to the UMS, where she explored what majors might work with her interests. Noor will earn a bachelor's degree in social behavioral science with a minor in early childhood education. Now her student loan debt is manageable and considers herself lucky she took advantage of the Maine System.

The Sun Journal reported dozens of juniors and seniors from Edward Little High School are also earning both high school and college credit by taking college courses while in high school. Jim Horn, Aspirations Coordinator said the bulk of the courses are taught at ELHS and he has been adding more college courses every year.

This year, he has 48 students taking courses at University of Maine at Augusta, 26 students at Central Maine Community College, 15 students at Eastern Maine Community College, 37 students at University of Maine at Fort Kent and 12 students at Kennebec Valley Community College. There are also 6 Edward Little seniors that are taking courses at Bates College.

The courses range from EMT training to academics which include English, math, science, social studies, government and psychology. Horn said students taking college courses has increased a compared to what they had in the past and they're expecting more next year.

High school students pay minimum costs and sometimes the state even picks up all the costs. Some take a few college courses and the others get a full year college completed in high school. Horn said that they had 15 seniors this year that will have a year of college complete upon graduating with no debt.

Follows Maine Community College, Student Debt, Maine System, University of Maine System, Naima Noor, juniors, seniors, Edward Little High School, Jim Horn, Central Maine Community College, Eastern Maine Community College, Kennebec Valley Community College, Bates College
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