Pilot program to offer degrees

LACCD chancellor previews changes including the bachelor degree pilot program.

By Sara Almalla, Staff Writer 

California Community Colleges may soon be offering bachelor’s degrees.

In an April 15 conference call, Chancellor Brice W. Harris discussed the possibility of expanding the bachelor’s degree pilot programs along with upcoming changes to the Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOG) and steps that are being taken to improve transfer programs.

The bachelor’s pilot program aims to create bachelor degree opportunities at community colleges in fields with a growing demand in today’s economy. The degrees that will be offered are ones that are not available at California State University or the University of California.

Chancellor Harris explained the process, stating, “Over the past 20 months or so, our faculty working with the faculty of the CSU has created 1,600 new transfer degrees in our colleges up and down the state. It’s a tremendous opportunity for our students to smooth the pathway between our institutions and the CSU’s”

The board has approved 12 of the 15 possible degrees so far and 13 of the 34 community colleges in California that applied for the program have also been approved. Among these are Industrial automation at Bakersfield College, Dental hygiene at both Foothill College and West Los Angeles College and Bio-manufacturing at Mira Costa College.

“Students will be able to earn their degree, we believe, for a cost of somewhere between 10 and 11 thousand dollars, which makes it extremely affordable,” explained Chancellor Harris.

The program takes off in the Fall of 2015 and will end in the 2022-23 academic year, when it will be reviewed for possible renewal.

In addition, beginning in the fall of 2015, California Community College transfer students who meet the academic criteria required will be guaranteed admissions to nine historically black colleges and universities.

Students who apply to the colleges, maintain a 2.5 GPA or higher and meet the IGETC or CSU entree requirements will be able to attend the HBU’s as juniors.

Lastly, Chancellor Harris discussed the new changes implemented in the BOG waiver, which waives student’s per-unit enrollment fees at community colleges throughout the state.

The changes will not be taking place until the fall of 2016, but it can affect students if they do not maintain a GPA of at least a 2.0 and complete more than half their courses. Students that fall below these standards for two or more terms may be subject to loss of eligibility, however, they can regain it by bringing their GPA back up to the standard level.

Chancellor Harris ended the conference on an optimistic note, “It’s been a tough several years financially for all of you as students and for our colleges but it looks as if we’ve turned the corner.”


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