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California's Community Colleges Could Soon Offer 4-Year Degrees

A twilight view of the library at Santa Monica College offers a view into the lighted book stacks inside. The entire side of the library has windows on both stories.
The library at Santa Monica College
(Courtesy of Santa Monica College)
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A plan could allow 15 community colleges in California to offer 4-year bachelor's degrees starting as soon as year, including eight in Southern California.Officials overseeing the California community college system approved the proposals after receiving applications from 34 of the 112 campuses. If the plan goes through, pending final review in March, the schools could begin the programs in the fall of 2016. Estimates say that a bachelor's degree from a community college would cost roughly half the cost of a degree from a Cal State, or about $10,000 according to the LA Times.

California would be added to the list of about 20 states that offer bachelor's degrees, and many proponents see the plan as both an education and jobs bill. "Students will have a range of programs from which to choose to earn high quality, affordable and in-demand degrees. California employers win, too, as they will have improved access to highly qualified candidates in these fields," California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris told KPCC. Under the provisions of the plan the colleges could not offer four-year nursing degrees, programs available at local state schools, and the number of campuses offering the degrees would be capped at 15.

The campuses that could soon offer four-year degrees are:

  • Antelope Valley College: airframe manufacturing technology
  • Bakersfield College: industrial automation
  • Crafton Hills College: emergency services and allied health systems
  • Cypress College: mortuary science
  • Feather River College: equine industry
  • Foothill College: dental hygiene
  • MiraCosta College: biomanufacturing
  • Modesto Junior College: respiratory care
  • Rio Hondo College: automotive technology
  • San Diego Mesa College: health information management
  • Santa Ana College: occupational studies
  • Santa Monica College: interaction design
  • Shasta College: health information management
  • Skyline College: respiratory therapy
  • West Los Angeles College: dental hygiene