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Graduating senior makes final tuition payment in pennies

BETHANY, Okla. (KOKH/WKRC) -- This spring 7 out of 10 college students will graduate in debt, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.

Student debt is a growing problem partially blamed on increasing tuition and decreasing incomes.

But one local student is taking a stand.... With pennies.

Southwestern Christian University senior Andrew Magbee pays his final $974.17 school bill completely in pennies.

"I think it could be something I could look back on and always remind me that being frugal is important and watching your pennies is important," he said.

Magbee loads up the crates of rolled pennies on a dolly. They weigh 500 pounds and are the product of years of working 20-to-80 hours a week.

His small business endeavors were mostly lawn care, but no job was too small.

"I've done everything from collecting aluminum cans to opening a sub shop," he said.

Thursday he drops off the cash to the SCU business office.

"Oh wow," a staff member laughed.

Administrators then write his receipt.

Magbee's small jobs and pennies added up over time. He is getting out of college debt-free but that's not the case for a lot of college graduates. In fact the national average is around $30,000 worth of debt.

"I'd say 90 percent of our students are going into debt," said SCU business accounting supervisor Teresa Thornton.

She knows first-hand how difficult it can be for students to stay on top of tuition payments.

"Sometimes students come to us and say 'I can't make it right now' so we have to work with students," she said.

With student debt numbers growing at six percent a year Magbee hopes his story inspires high school students who may be worried.

"You can work your way through if you're willing to show up on time and work hard," he said.

Because he didn't want his $25,000 tuition to hold him back after graduation.

"It's great cause we live in a free country and you can do anything you set your mind to. So that's the exciting part, you just never know what tomorrow will bring," he said.

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