California Senate approves four-year degrees at community colleges

Four-year-degrees would be allowed at 15 California community colleges under bill sent to governor

With universities less accessible to many students, the state Senate on Thursday gave final legislative approval to a measure that would allow California community colleges to offer four-year degrees in up to 15 campuses.

Sen. Marty Block (D-San Diego) said his measure, which now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown for consideration, is needed to fill a work force skills gap in some parts of the state.

“By 2025 our state will need 1 million more adults with four-year degrees,” Block said. “We need to use all of California’s resources – including our community colleges – to close that gap.”

Some 20 other states allow community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees, he noted. Lawmakers said many students cannot afford or get into state universities. "This is a viable way to help these young people," said Sen. Mark Wyland (R-Escondido).

SB 850 would allow 15 community college districts to offer one baccalaureate degree program each beginning Jan. 1 and ending in 2023.

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