Editorial: Bachelors degrees belong at community colleges

Editorial Staff

From an impressive architecture program housed in the Winn Center, which a former student helped design, and a cutting edge photography program that includes an associate degree and multiple certificate programs, CRC is one of the premiere colleges that should add a new program to its already large list of impressive offerings.

Cosumnes prides itself on having students who can produce professional level work, and being able to send students into the workforce with even higher degrees should become the next selling point for the campus.

A senate bill currently on the table is looking to add programs to community colleges that will bring four-year degrees to what are traditionally two-year schools.

Senate Bill 850 will expand the current law that requires community colleges to offer courses through only the second year of college, according to the California Legislative Information website.

The bill will allow the California Community Colleges Chancellor to start an eight-year pilot program at one campus per district that would offer bachelor’s degrees, according to the California Legislative Information website.

As it stands, 21 other states offer four-year degrees in their community college systems.

Northwestern Michigan College became the first progressive community college in its state to offer a bachelor’s degree, according to a 2013 NMC news release. The Bachelor of Science degree in maritime technology brought a lot of benefits to the college and surrounding areas.

“Our estimate is that this degree path will save cadets in the neighborhood of $10,000 and allow some to go to work a semester earlier,” said MNC President Timothy J. Nelson in the news release. “Given current starting rates for our maritime graduates that could mean as much as $30,000 in extra earnings.”

Having a stellar example of what could be possible for students, and with so many states participating in similar programs, it should be no surprise that California would want to be a part of the future of education.

According to the California Legislative Information website, “California needs to produce one million more baccalaureate degrees than the state currently does to remain economically competitive in the coming decades.”

If California students can follow a path to a degree at the community college level, and the example given by the NMC president holds true, then more students would be encouraged to strive not only for higher education, but for four-year degrees, as well.

The unemployment rate in 2013 for people with associates degrees was 5.4 percent, and the figure drops to 4 percent with a bachelor’s degree; the median weekly earning for those with associate’s degrees is $777 while obtaining a bachelor’s degree brings that figure up to $1,108, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

With facts like these, not only should the bill have full support of the public, but the Los Rios Community College District should be pushing for a pilot program to be opened in the district.

Cosumnes River College could benefit greatly, as it already boasts an impressive set of programs for students.

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