Community colleges in a growing number of states are offering bachelor’s degrees.
Las Positas College and its huge two-year system may join that group.
For students who want to transfer with a two-year associate degree, LPC could be the right place for them. With a newly proposed statewide mandate, however, LPC may soon be offering four-year degrees for a specialized study, and some students may not even have to transfer.
“The state is definitely pushing this idea. They are favorable in offering four-year, preferably technical degrees that are necessary for the community,” Academic Senate President Tom Orf said.
LPC offers associate’s of art and associate’s of science degrees, which are better known as AAs among students. Both selections of degrees require students to complete all general education in the English, history, mathematics and science departments in order to complete the required 60 units minimum. This includes electives.
Undergraduates, who wish to transfer to four-year colleges in order to complete their majors, must complete all basic requirements before doing hands on studying that is specific to their majors.
That being said, if the state proposes this idea, it will only apply to students who wish to obtain technical degrees, such as nursing and information technology.
Although this process is still underway, not everybody is sold on the idea that community colleges should be in the bachelor’s degree business, which more than 20 states now allow.
“Our mission is two year technical and transferable and basic skills, but if we can take the burden off the CSU and UC, and it doesn’t hurt the school, bring it on,” Orf said.
Nearby public universities in particular tend to bristle at competition for students and dwindling state dollars.
Originally, community colleges were intended to provide AA education, while CSU was for bachelor’s degrees and UC was for graduate work. The lines have become blurred over the years, however, leading to the newly proposed plan by the state.
There are concerns to be considered, though. LPC, like the rest of the state, suffered financial cuts both in program and faculty funding with the blow of the recession. While it is gradually rebuilding to where it was before, funding is still an issue.
“My only concern is how will we be funded? These degrees should be for a minimum amount of students and it should not affect the programs that LPC already has,” Orf said.