Earn a bachelor's at community college? Calif. panel looks at idea already tried in 22 states

Monday, November 11, 2013

California’s community colleges are considering whether to expand their educational mission and begin offering bachelor’s degrees in high-demand technical and vocational fields.

Community colleges in 22 states currently confer these degrees. In California, the controversial idea has been proposed in the Legislature several times before. Some supporters think the concept could gain traction next year, largely because of a growing demand by hospitals looking to hire nurses who hold bachelor’s degrees.

As envisioned, community colleges could offer the degrees in a few select fields not already offered at California State University or University of California campuses. In addition to nursing, another oft-cited example is a bachelor’s degree in automotive technology.

A task force convened by Brice Harris, chancellor of California Community Colleges, has been studying the issue since August and will begin sharing its recommendations later this month. Meanwhile, a state legislator has said he intends to sponsor a bill that would establish a pilot program.

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