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CA Gov Signs Bill to Offer Bachelor’s Degrees in ‘High-Demand’ Fields at Community Colleges

October 02, 2014

On September 28, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 850 into law, which establishes a pilot-program that will allow 15 of the state’s community colleges to launch low-cost bachelor’s degree programs in vocational fields of high demand by state industries. This bill makes California the 22nd state to offer state residents the opportunity to earn a low-cost bachelor’s degree at a local community college.

Community colleges from across the state will compete for one of the 15 spots in the pilot program. The community college will need to propose one bachelor’s degree program that trains students for high-demand jobs that are not already offered through the University of California or California State University (CSU) systems. The programs will be a mixture of both traditional classroom and online courses. All 15 of the pilot degree programs will launch before the 2017-18 academic year with some launching as soon as fall of 2015. The pilot program is set to end in 2024.

The program is intended to address two problems plaguing the California:

  • The growing demand by industry for workers who hold a bachelor’s degree; and,
  • The sky-rocking cost of public education.

San Jose-Evergreen Community College District Chancellor Rita Cepeda said, “California is now ranked 31st in the nation when it comes to adults who have a baccalaureate or an associate degree.” She believes the program is a step in the right direction to remedy the problem. To address the rising cost of education in the state, the law caps the cost of credit hours to almost half of the cost of a credit hour at a CSU institution. During the first two years of their degree program, students will pay $46 per credit. For their upper-level courses, students will pay up to $84 per credit. Including fees, the student will pay about $10,000 for their bachelor’s degree – approximately $2,600 per year. Read the bill…

Californiahigher ed, workforce