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Bill for community colleges to grant bachelor’s degrees passes California Legislature

Posted: August 22, 2014 1:18 p.m.
Updated: August 22, 2014 1:18 p.m.

A bill that would allow some community colleges to offer four-year degrees has passed the state Legislature and is heading to the governor’s desk.

Senate Bill 850, introduced by Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego, would establish a pilot program that would enable some community colleges to create a baccalaureate degree program.

The bill would allow 15 campuses from 15 different community college districts to offer one baccalaureate degree each starting next year and ending in 2023. Those would begin no later than the 2017-18 academic year, according to Block.

The colleges haven’t been selected, but College of the Canyons officials said they’re interested in participating.

The degrees offered at community colleges would have to be distinct from those offered at nearby UC and CSU campuses, Block said.

“It will be value added, not duplicative,” Block said.

The College of the Canyons Board of Trustees voted earlier this year to support the bill.

“It’s an opportunity to expand access to higher education,” COC spokesman Eric Harnish said Friday. “This is something we believe would be beneficial to our community.”

While it’s too early to say what type of degree program COC could offer if selected to participate in the pilot program, Harnish said the college would “look at what makes sense for our area.”

Block said by 2025 California “will need 1 million more adults with four-year degrees.”

“We need to use all of California’s resources — including our community colleges — to close that gap,” he said in a statement.

California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris also praised the bill.

“In today’s economy, many businesses require their employees to possess a four-year degree or higher skill sets than are offered through associate degree programs, even in fields such as dental hygiene or automotive technology where a two-year degree would have been sufficient in the past,” said Harris, in a statement.

“This bill will enable California community colleges to confer bachelor’s degrees in areas not currently served by the California State University or University of California and help close the skills gap in our workforce.”
On Twitter @LukeMMoney





Jake: Posted: August 22, 2014 5:00 p.m.

I attended COC, transferred to a UC, and finished up my schooling in law school.

Of those different schools COC was the best in my opinion. The professors were genuinely interested in my success, the course offerings were great, and it had much more of a home type feel compared to just being a number or even cattle at other schools.

If COC offered a bachelor's it is something I would highly recommend it to those who it makes sense for.

shenanigans: Posted: August 22, 2014 6:12 p.m.

I completely agree with you Jake. I'm currently at COC, and in the middle of applying for transfer. While I'm qualified for a UC, I'm choosing CSU and one with smaller enrollment to get less of the "cattle" feel. I really hope COC gets chosen to offer Bachelors. They already have the university center which is offering 4 year degrees, and if they offered my field, I would have chosen that in a heart beat.

bartman: Posted: August 22, 2014 7:53 p.m.

Great News! I remember this attempted before and failed, but after years of cuts and fee hikes this is great.

TWgolf: Posted: August 23, 2014 6:40 a.m.

Yup, I too went to COC, got my engineering degree from Berkeley, and finished a masters in their combined program.

COC is an incredible resource for the people of the SCV willing to put the time in and work hard. If you do that, you build great relationships with the professors and end up successfully transferring. I still talk to one of my COC professors.

If you take it seriously, you gain maturity, save money, and learn in a truly student focused environment. I only had one bad professor my whole time there. Hopefully this program will get rolling, I think if they offer valuable and more specialized bachelors, it will be great, especially for working adults.

SCV123: Posted: August 24, 2014 10:40 a.m.

Colleges now churn out office drones to work in corporate labor camps for small stagnant wages. The days of lucrative career growth and advancement died after the 50s. What we need now is more entrepreneurs.

lars1: Posted: August 25, 2014 1:10 a.m.

New degrees for COC:
They cannot duplicate degrees from 4 year universities.

Bachelor of Food Delivery. Do you want fries with that?

Bachelor of Floor Cleaning. Mops and Brooms required.

Bachelor of Plumbing. lawn mowing.
Bachelor of Roofing.
Bachelor of lawn mowing.
Bachelor of wood cutting.
Bachelor of window cleaning.

SReilly12: Posted: August 26, 2014 11:03 a.m.

Reports claim that our "kids" are still living or coming back home to live because they can't afford anything else. Taking advantage of a 4 year program while living at home, seems to me to be a win, win situation. My daughter also went to COC - great school at the Community level, I'm sure they will soar with launching a 4 year program.

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