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4-Year Degree Pilot Program Underway At San Diego Mesa College

Evening Edition

Aired 8/26/15 on KPBS Midday Edition.

4-Year Degree Pilot Program Gets Underway At San Diego Mesa College

GUESTS:

Margie Fritch, dean of health sciences and public service, San Diego Mesa College

Alexis Castro, student, San Diego Mesa College

Mike Fino, biotechnology department chair, MiraCosta College

A pilot program that allows 15 community colleges in the state to offer four-year bachelor's degrees got underway this week at San Diego Mesa College.

MiraCosta College in Oceanside was also selected for the pilot program, and will offer upper division courses starting in fall 2017.

Participating students at Mesa will have the opportunity to earn a degree in health information management. MiraCosta will offer a degree in biomanufacturing.

Margie Fritch, dean of health sciences and public service, said the college chose to offer a degree in health information management because of the need.

"The adoption of electronic health records has precipitated the need for a different individual," Fritch told KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday. "The health management field is just exploding. The opportunities (for graduates) will be limitless we hope."

The estimated cost of a degree at either of these colleges is about $10,000 — significantly cheaper than at a traditional four-year school.

The bill creating the seven-year pilot program was written by state Sen. Marty Block (D-San Diego).

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