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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California Community Colleges today announced that thirty-six districts- half of all districts in the system- submitted letters of intent to the state Chancellor’s Office indicating their desire to host a baccalaureate degree program, signaling strong support for legislation signed by the governor this fall authorizing the system to award bachelor’s degrees as part of a limited pilot program.
The districts represent regions throughout the state, including Allan Hancock Joint Community College District in the Central Coast, Los Angeles Community College District, San Diego Community College District, State Center Community College District in the San Joaquin Valley, Foothill-De Anza Community College District in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Shasta-Tehama-Trinity Joint Community College District in far Northern California.
“The districts’ strong interest in building baccalaureate degree programs is heartening,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris. “They are pioneering a new mission for the California Community Colleges and opening up pathways for Californians who may not have had the chance to earn a four-year degree. I look forward to working with the districts to create world-class programs that graduate highly trained and marketable students.”
The legislation, known as Senate Bill 850 and authored by Sen. Marty Block (D-San Diego), allows up to 15 districts to establish a pilot baccalaureate degree program at one of their colleges in a field of study not offered by the California State University (CSU) or University of California (UC). Lower-division coursework would cost $46 and upper-division coursework would cost $84 under the new program, with an estimated total cost of about $10,000 to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
"SB 850 is a game changer for California students," Block said. “Students now have another door that can lead to a quality, affordable four-year degree. It tells employers that California is doing all it can to ensure that our state is open for business and will stay open to employers looking for highly trained employees."
The thirty-six districts seek to build baccalaureate degree programs in a wide variety of diverse vocational fields, ranging from airframe manufacturing technology, biomanufacturing, respiratory therapy, dental hygiene, engineering technology, and public safety administration. Many of the proposed programs are in fields where graduates with associate degrees can already expect to earn $60,000 a few years after graduation, making them very cost-effective.
The law outlines the general criteria that districts must meet for selection to host a program. It also directs the
California Community Colleges Board of Governors to develop a process for selecting each district.
At its meeting yesterday, Chancellor’s Office staff presented a proposed process to the board. Any district wishing to host a program must submit an application to the Chancellor’s Office by Dec. 19, 2014. Districts that did not turn in an initial interest form may still submit an application.
A team comprised of Chancellor’s Office staff, a member of the business and workforce community, representatives from CSU, UC, and community college administrators, faculty, and staff from districts that did not apply to host a program will review the applications.
Considerations for selecting a district include geographic distribution of the pilot programs, diversity of pilot programs, ability of the district to establish a rigorous program in their proposed field, and that the proposed program will meet an unaddressed local or statewide workforce need.
The team will then make its selections and forward its recommendations to the chancellor, who will decide which of the applications are submitted to the board of governors for ultimate consideration and approval, in consultation with representatives of the CSU and UC. The board is scheduled to make its decision on Jan. 21, 2015.
Under the law the four-year degree programs must be up and running by at least the 2017-18 academic year, however districts may start their programs by the fall 2015 semester. Districts must also seek approval from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges to start a program.
The legislation sunsets after the 2022-23 school year, after which the Legislature and governor may renew it pending two Legislative Analyst’s Office reviews of the pilot program- one in 2018 and another in 2022.
The law was enacted to assist the state in meeting the need for individuals in high demand technical disciplines which are increasingly requiring baccalaureate degrees and to increase college participation rates and improve workforce training opportunities for local residents who are unable to relocate because of family or work commitments.
Further impetus for the measure comes from studies which show that California needs to produce 1 million more baccalaureate degree earners by 2025 to remain economically competitive in the coming decades.
Community colleges are an efficient and economical way to help meet those needs due to their numerous locations throughout the state and modest tuition.
Twenty-one other states also allow community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees. The list of districts that submitted letters of intent is below.
The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation composed of 72 districts and 112 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. Community colleges supply workforce training, basic skills education and prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions. The Chancellor’s Office provides leadership, advocacy and support under the direction of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. For more information about the community colleges, please visit http://californiacommunitycolleges.cccco.edu/.
Allan Hancock Joint CCD CTE or Liberal Studies
Antelope Valley CCD Airframe Manufacturing Technology
Butte-Glenn Product Process Technology Coast CCD Community Corrections Feather River CCD Watershed Restoration OR
Equine and Ranch Management
Foothill-De Anza CCD Dental Hygiene
Gavilan CCD Aviation Maintenance Technology
Glendale CCD Health Information Technology and Management OR Real Estate Appraisal and Property Valuation
Grossmont-Cuyamaca CCD Environmental Health & Safety Management
Hartnell CCD Food Safety
Kern CCD BAS in Industrial Automation and Design
Lake Tahoe CCD Public Safety Administration
Los Angeles CCD TBD
Mira Costa CCD Biomanufacturing Napa Valley CCD Respiratory Therapy North Orange County CCD Mortuary Science Ohlone CCD Respiratory Care
Peralta CCD Sustainable Facilities Management and Operations
Rio Hondo Automotive Technology
San Bernardino CCD Emergency Services and Allied Health Systems
San Diego CCD Health Information Management
San Jose-Evergreen CCD Automotive Technology
San Luis Obispo County Community College Information Studies San Joaquin Delta CCD Electron Microscopy San Mateo County CCD Respiratory Therapy Santa Clarita CCD TBD
Santa Monica CCD Interaction Design
Shasta-Tehama-Trinity Joint CCD Health Information Management Solano CCD Engineering Technology Sonoma County Junior CCD Computer-Cyber Security
South Orange CCD Applied Science in Sustainable Environmental Design
Southwestern CCD Allied Health State Center CCD Dental Hygiene Ventura County CCD Applied Management Yosemite CCD Respiratory Care
Yuba CCD Applied Academics (Auto/Manu/Weld) OR Applied
Imaging (Rad Tech)