California looking to add bachelor degrees to community colleges

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California is currently discussing an opportunity to allow community college students access to bachelor’s degrees in nursing and two other programs.

The state has run into a speed bump in education. To put it short, it’s not meeting requirements.

California’s eyes are set on the 2025 projected demand, at which a number of bachelor’s degrees are required.

To meet demand, the state would need to increase bachelor’s degrees awarded by almost 60,000 a year. Which is 40 percent above current levels, according to the California Community College Baccalaureate Degree Study Group.

A specific area of education that may be affected by this bill would be nursing.

“Two-year associate degrees are becoming insufficient for some fields, such as nursing and respiratory therapy, but bachelor’s degree programs in those areas are scarce. Expanding community college programs would help students complete a bachelor’s degree quickly, without the hassle, the expense of transferring to another school and the dreaded delays,” according to Katy Murphy and Paul Burgarino in the Feb. 19 San Jose Mercury News article “Bachelor degrees from community colleges on California horizon.”

The health profession in general has a growing number of bachelor’s degrees needed which has put the state up against the wall and forced decisions.

“As demand for bachelor’s degrees grows in health professions, information technology and law enforce- ment, also growing is pressure on California lawmakers to let community colleges offer bachelor’s degrees in high-need areas,” according to Nanette Asimov in the Feb. 2 SFGate.com article “California community colleges could offer bachelor’s degrees.”

The aspect of the proposition students should be excited for, is the fact bachelor courses in community col- leges will be much cheaper than usual university courses.

“If community colleges in California start providing baccalaureate programs, it would open up opportunities for students who cannot leave home or attend 4-year universities for financial or family reasons,” according to a Feb. 26 Mesa Press article titled “Bachelor’s Degrees for Califor- nia’s Community Colleges to be Determined degrees for California’s community colleges to be determined.”

Financial instability is one of the reasons students attend community colleges in the first place, and with the price of university classes being what they are, these students have a near impossible chance of getting that far. This law would rid of that liability.

Delta College’s own nursing students seem divided on the subject.

“So many schools are pumping out nurses,” said stu- dent Emily Encinas.

Encinas is against the possibility of bachelor’s degrees being given in community colleges believing it will only increase competition to get into nursing professions.

“This can lower the credibility of bachelor’s degrees,” said nursing student Michelle Heslop.

In other words, bachelor’s degrees would lose value if given in community colleges. However, Heslop also added: “People who couldn’t necessarily afford a four-year can do it here.”