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A new tool will help students find affordable online degree programs at community colleges.

The College Collective, created by Chegg, an education technology company, will serve as a virtual directory for students to find completely online certificate or associate degree programs at two-year colleges across the country. Colleges must be accredited and can submit their programs on the service's website. It is free for both students and colleges.

So far, the directory includes roughly 1,400 programs offered by more than 100 community colleges.

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The purpose of the collective is to raise awareness about the number of online, low-cost programs, according to a news release. The average cost of in-state tuition for community colleges is 40 percent less than the average in-state tuition costs at public four-year colleges, according to Chegg.

The pandemic has affected many students' finances, and many universities are now reversing their plans to do on-campus instruction in the fall, which could leave students looking elsewhere to start their education, the release states.

College Collective is working with two-year colleges that have partnerships with four-years, ensuring students can transfer their credits with greater ease in the future.