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Community Colleges Expand with Bachelors Programs

September 28, 2009

SCFThe Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports on the changing role of community colleges:

When Manatee Community College changed its name to SCF earlier this year and devised plans to offer as many as seven four-year degree programs, it saw the changes as part of the natural evolution of community colleges.

Community college leaders say the two-year degree programs commonplace in their schools no longer meet the needs of employers clamoring for more-skilled workers — or the needs of students facing rising costs and stiffening admission requirements at four-year colleges.

Seventeen states have allowed community colleges to offer associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. Several more are considering the move. In Michigan, protests from universities stalled efforts to allow community colleges to offer four-year degree programs there. A proposal to allow Arizona’s community colleges to offer four-year degrees died in 2005 because of opposition from universities.

It does not make sense to create another system of baccalaureate education when funding is so tight, says Arthur Guilford, USF regional chancellor.

“Why are we creating a new system that will not save the state money; it will cost them more money?” Guilford said.

Community college advocates counter that they are only pursuing degree programs that meet the needs of local employers and workers.

Role of community colleges growing [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

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