Valley College Could Be Offering Four Year Degrees As Early As Fall 2015

Monarchs might not need to leave Valley to possibly obtain a degree, through the Baccalaureate Degree Pilot Program.

By: Jackie Carter, Staff Writer

 

Valley College could be one of many colleges in the nation to offer a bachelor’s degree in high-demand areas of health, information technology and law enforcement as early as fall 2015.

Although the idea of getting a four year degree may be appealing to some, it is not a done deal. There are a number of deciding factors such as the cost of the programs as well as whether or not the programs meet the needs of the current students.

“We feel very serious about the original mission of the community colleges and that’s something that we have been doing very well here,” said Karen Daar, Vice President of Academic Affairs. “Being able to offer the lower division courses, the lower division technical career courses, the basic skills courses, there is a great need for those courses for our student population”

Bill SB-850, introduced in January 2014, if it passes, will be an eight year pilot program to address the areas of unmet workforce needs. According to the leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/ website, California needs to produce one million more bachelor’s degrees than it currently produces by the year 2025, to remain economically competitive.

However, the idea of offering bachelor degrees at California community colleges level was originally introduced in 2009.

“I’m not against the idea, but it would not be a mandate for Valley College or any other community college to adopt a bachelor degree program,” said Daar. “That would be up to the different campuses and Valley College has not been in any kind of serious dialogue in terms of possibly adopting a bachelor program.”

Some students are opposed to the idea citing the limited resources of a community college versus those of a larger university and the lack of prestige associated with having a four-year degree from a recognized college.

“I just like the idea of transferring and going to a university and accomplishing something in one place and starting fresh somewhere else,” said Geral Lopez, coaching, kinesiology major. “New campus, new people, new teachers, also your certificate or your diploma is not gonna say from a junior college, it’s gonna say from the university of.”

If the bill passes it would be offered at 20 community colleges in California, and would limit one type of bachelor degree per campus.

Twenty-one other states, from Florida to Hawaii, already allow their community colleges to offer Baccalaureate Degrees; California could soon become the 22-state.

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