Two-year colleges get ready to offer 4-year degrees

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Updated: Jan. 20 3:29 pm

Dozens of California community colleges have been selected to be among the first in the state to offer four-year degrees.

The bachelor degree programs are slated to begin in the fall of 2017 – and they’re designed to help close an education gap that some believe could threaten the Golden State’s economic future.

Thirty-four of the state’s 112 community colleges applied to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors to offer four-year degrees, but only 15 were selected. Democratic State Sen. Marty Block of San Diego authored the bill to start the pilot program. He told Sacramento’s News-10 that more public degree programs are needed because of limited space in the University of California and Cal State systems.

AP SANTA MONICA COLLEGE GRADUATION A USA CA“These are qualified students who just can’t get into a public school and are either not going on to college or going to some very expensive, private, for-profit schools.”

Each of the 15 community colleges that are picked today will only be allowed to offer a single degree – and it must be in a subject that’s not offered at U.C. or Cal State. Santa Monica College, for example, has proposed a four-year degree in Interaction Design. Antelope Valley College wants to start a degree program in airplane manufacturing.

lacitycollegezA recent study by the Public Policy Institute of California found that by 2025, 41 percent of all jobs in California will require a four-year degree. At the current rate, only about 35 percent of Californians have one.

Today’s announcement coincides with President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, in which he plans to propose a government program that would make community college free for American students.

Here’s the full list:

  • Antelope Valley College, Airframe manufacturing technology
  • Bakersfield College, Industrial Automation
  • Crafton Hills College, Emergency Services and Allied Health Systems 
  • Cypress College, Mortuary Science
  • Feather River College, Equine Industry
  • Foothill College, Dental Hygiene
  • West Los Angeles College, Dental Hygiene
  • Mira Costa College, Bio-manufacturing,
  • Modesto Junior College, Respiratory Care
  • Skyline College, Respiratory Care 
  • Rio Hondo College, Automotive Technology
  • Mesa College, Health Information Management
  • Santa Ana College, Occupational Studies
  • Santa Monica College, Interaction Design
  • Shasta College, Health Information Management