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US: Community colleges will start offer bachelor’s degrees

The Governor of California recently endorsed a legislation that could essentially transform the higher education system in the state. According to the Senate Bill 850, a pilot program is set up authorizing up to 15 community colleges to start proposing four-year bachelor's degrees in specialized professional disciplines such as automotive, industrial and health technologies. 

The pilot programme will be launched in the 2017-2018 academic year and will last until 2024. However, advocates of this program expect that demand will bring to extended and stable access. Degrees may be provided by one campus in every college district. Among the restrictions are that new degrees cannot repeat those proposed by the University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU). 

With this measure, California joins 21 other states proposing community college bachelor's degrees. During more than 50 years, community colleges in California have been issued professional certificates and two-year associate degrees. Students striving for bachelor’s degrees used to have been directed to UC or CSU. With the new opportunities to earn a 4-year degree at a Community College, student savings could be considerable as basic fees for bachelor’s degrees could amount to around USD 11 000 (approximately half the cost of CSU and a quarter of the cost of UC).