September 28, 2022
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Advanced Bachelor’s Degree Offerings are Key to Training the State’s Workforce and Growing Degree Attainment for Californians

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Community Colleges Board of Governors has affirmed approval of three additional degrees for the Baccalaureate Degree Program, helping to further train the state’s workforce and giving more Californians an opportunity to earn a four-year degree from a community college. The program expansion will benefit California by awarding more advanced degrees in high-demand workforce industries and putting Californians on a path toward employment in their field of study and in industries of greatest need for the state’s economy.

“The Board of Governors remains committed to offering clear pathways to high quality careers that provide our students with social and economic mobility,” said Pamela Haynes, president of the Board of Governors for the California Community Colleges. “Expanding the Baccalaureate Degree Program is directly tied to our system’s goals of increasing degree attainment, helping more career education graduates get employed in their field of study, and reducing equity gaps – all of which are laid out in our strategic plan, the Vision for Success.”

The Baccalaureate Degree Program, which began in 2014, became permanent last year when Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 927. The bill allows for an expansion of up to 30 new bachelor’s degree programs at community colleges each year. All California community college bachelor’s degree options are exclusive to the system and do not duplicate degrees offered at California State University (CSU) or University of California (UC) campuses. Currently there are 15 bachelor’s degree programs, each individually designed for colleges and carefully selected based on the workforce demands in each region. The three newest degrees, part of the first cycle of approvals made possible by AB 927, are respiratory care at El Camino College, automotive technology management at De Anza College and research laboratory technology at Bakersfield College.

“This expansion wouldn’t be possible without Governor Newsom’s leadership and the hard work and collaborative efforts of our students, faculty, and administrators who have been leading 15 successful pilots for eight years,” said Interim Chancellor Daisy Gonzales, PhD. “By 2030 nearly 40% of California jobs will require at least a baccalaureate degree. Expanding the Baccalaureate Degree Program helps California to meet regional workforce needs and in turn support local and state economic vitality. The new programs approved by the Board of Governors were designed to meet the needs of our students and allow us to continue our progress toward the governor’s Roadmap for the Future aimed at improving student success and equity for all Californians.”

These programs reflect the critical role community colleges play in the state’s economy and in the lives of many Californians. Approximately 51% of CSU graduates and 29% of UC graduates begin their educational career at a California community college. At a time when four-year segments are impacted and are turning away transfer students, Californians now have a new direct pipeline to baccalaureate degrees. The programs provide accessible bachelor’s degrees and offer a high-quality education at colleges that often have associate degree programs in the same workforce fields and lead directly to jobs in the local area. Another benefit is affordability. The state’s education code requires that bachelor’s degree students taking lower division courses pay the same general course enrollment fees as other California community college students, currently $46 per unit. For upper division courses, students pay the general course fee and a supplemental $84 per unit fee, bringing the total charge to $130 per upper division unit.

New changes were also made to the Middle Class Scholarship to make the California Community Colleges baccalaureate degree programs even more attainable. This change will allow students with a family income and assets of up to $201,000, to be eligible for the award and will effectively open eligibility to significantly more students. With the Middle Class Scholarship award, students seeking a bachelor's degree at a California community college, may now use these resources for housing, transportation, books, and other educational costs.

“The bachelor’s degree programs in our system will open more doors to Californians and make their dreams possible all while staying close to home. This is imperative to students who are place bound and are looking for a path to provide a better life for themselves and their families,” said Dr. Gonzales. “The Baccalaureate Degree Program is a part of the structural work we’re doing to level the playing field and expand opportunities to help more students reach their end goals. We will not stop until we’re a system that truly works for all students.”

There are six additional Baccalaureate Degree Programs in the pipeline for 2022 approval, and the cycle two application period will open in January.

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 73 districts and 116 colleges serving 1.8 million students per year. California community colleges provide career education and workforce training; guaranteed transfer to four-year universities; and degree and certificate pathways. As the state’s engine for social and economic mobility, the California Community Colleges supports the Vision for Success, a strategic plan designed to improve student success outcomes, increase transfer rates and eliminate achievement gaps. For more information, please visit the California Community Colleges website or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.