California allows community colleges to offer 4-year degrees

California allows community colleges to offer 4-year degrees

More than a dozen community colleges in California will now be able to offer baccalaureate or 4-year degrees in certain fields where skilled workers are specially needed, thanks to a new measure signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The new law, a pilot program approved recently by Mr. Brown, allows 15 community colleges to offer 4-year degrees in job-related fields like automobile mechanics, dental hygiene, science and technology.

It is the first time in California that community colleges have been allowed to offer 4-year programs. Previously, community colleges were allowed to offer only 2-year associate's degrees or vocational certificates.

The idea of expanding college offerings has broad support, and a significant number of colleges, including Skyline College in San Bruno, Canada College in Redwood City, and the College of San Mateo, have already started lining up with proposals they hope will win the competition.

Brice Harris, the chancellor of California community colleges, said, "Employers in California seek candidates with advanced credentials, and many struggle to fill positions in some of the fields that will be covered under the new program."

Under the pilot program, students will have to fork out $84 a credit for upper-division courses; wile lower-division courses will continue to cost $46 a credit.

California is not the first state to allow community colleges to offer four-year degrees. At least 21 other states of the U. S. also allow community colleges offer bachelor's degrees.

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