Tuesday, December 22, 2009
SAN DIEGO San Diego Assemblyman Marty Block wants community colleges to begin offering four-year degrees. He says California has to rethink the way students access higher education.
Block is in the process of drafting a bill that would allow a select number of community colleges to award bachelor's degrees in certain subject areas.
Community colleges only offer two-year associate degrees and certificates in California.
But Block says deep budget cuts are causing four-year schools to shut out tens of thousands of students. He says expanding the community colleges' mission means more students would complete their four-degrees.
“For a student to be able to continue his or her education for two more years at the same comfortable community college location where they've done their first two years, I think we'd see a tremendous increase in those who would successfully complete the bachelor's degree,” Block says.
His idea is to start small, testing the concept at a select number of community colleges and in a certain number of subject areas. San Diego could be included in the pilot program.
“We need to be as cost effective as possible and the most cost-effective solution is shifting some money out of the CSU and giving more money to the community colleges so they can prepare twice as many students for the dollar. It’s a bigger bang for the taxpayer buck,” Block says.
Community college officials say the change would represent a major shift in higher education policy. Block says 17 states now allow their community college systems to offer bachelor degrees from nursing to electrical engineering.
San Diego Assemblyman Marty Block wants community colleges to begin offering four-year degrees. He says California has to rethink the way students access higher education.