Due to the number of people living in California without a bachelor’s degree, ranking the state 14th in its share of people aged 25-34 with bachelor’s degrees, it’s time that California Community College officials take matters into their hands by offering bachelor’s degrees at local community colleges.
Discussions to include bachelor’s degrees began on Aug. 22, 2013, at a conference call where California Community College Chancellor Brice W. Harris appointed a study group to review aspects of a bachelor‘s program at the community college level.
The document made its way to Governor Jerry Brown where he signed legislation on Sept. 28, allowing California Community Colleges to award bachelor’s degrees not currently served by UC or CSU schools. It is planned to be in 15 college districts by no later than the 2017-2018 academic year.
Offering four-year degrees at local community colleges would give students a cheaper alternative to universities while getting the same quality education, further preparing individuals for the workforce.
With 29 percent of UC and CSU students first starting off at the community college level, California has the opportunity to take an idea already used in 21 states and offer a four year education. If Community colleges were to offer B.A. degrees, it would help local students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford out-of-state tuition or a university that was close to home.
The cost of a USC education, a private institution, is just shy of $65,000 for a full year while public school UCLA charges about $33,000.
California community college students pay significantly less as the average revenue needed to support one full-time college student is slightly more than $5,000 per year, making the community college route a smarter option.
A cheaper education can also improve college graduation rates as some students may be willing to spend the time in school if they don’t feel like they are drowning in debt, giving them a fair chance to succeed and pursue other opportunities.
Preparing individuals for the workforce is crucial, to implement a set of skills that some would not have with a college education.
By 2025, California’s demand for college-educated workers will outstrip the supply, according to californiacommunitycolleges.edu.
It is imperative that the students of today are prepared for the future of tomorrow as soon the associate’s degree will be the equivalent to that of a high school, making the bachelor’s degree a necessity.
California community colleges should offer a bachelor’s degree because it will give students a chance that they might not have had before. It will give students another opportunity to grow, to better themselves and ensure a brighter future.