California Community Colleges Greenlights 6 New Bachelor’s Degree Programs

The state chancellor’s office for the college system has announced the approval of six additional bachelor’s degree programs in California’s community colleges.

Thirty-nine bachelor’s degree programs are now either being offered or will soon be available within the community college system following these approvals.

Among the newly approved programs are respiratory care at Antelope Valley College, paramedicine at College of the Siskiyous, dental hygiene at Cypress College and Oxnard College, paralegal studies at Santa Ana College, and respiratory care therapist at Victor Valley College.

Executive vice chancellor for the college system, Aisha Lowe, stated, “Through the Baccalaureate Degree Program we are broadening the reach of higher education and skill development to a greater number of students by offering affordable and quality opportunities close to home.”

Currently, 32 different community colleges in the state offer at least one bachelor’s degree program, with several colleges like Antelope Valley, Cypress, and Santa Ana having multiple offerings in addition to their latest approvals.

The number of bachelor’s degrees available in community colleges is expected to rise continuously. Thirteen program applications are currently under review, following January submissions.

Under the authority of a 2021 state law, the community college system can annually approve up to 30 bachelor’s degrees across two cycles, each emphasizing high-demand career fields like dental hygiene and automotive education.

By offering these degrees at the community college level, students can obtain a bachelor’s degree at a significantly lower cost compared to a traditional four-year university. Some community colleges offer accessibility to these degrees in regions where a University of California or California State University campus is absent.

Programs seeking approval must undergo an intersegmental review, allowing the California State University and the University of California systems to object to the degrees to prevent duplication of existing programs. Currently, 11 programs are undergoing this review.

Efforts are underway to establish a more efficient process with CSU officials to resolve disputes promptly in the future.

Legislation proposed in Senate Bill 895 aims to allow 15 community colleges to introduce bachelor’s degrees in nursing, addressing the shortage in worker supply in certain fields such as nursing.

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