Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill-850 Sept. 29, a bill that will allow two year public colleges to offer students the chance to obtain baccalaureates — or bachelor’s degrees.
“This is landmark legislation that is a game changer for California’s higher education system and our workforce preparedness,” Sen. Marty Block said in a press release from his office.
Senator Marty Block served as a trustee for the San Diego Community College District and is a supporter of City College.
Previous to the bill becoming law, student could only receive a bachelor’s degree from a public or private four-year college.
“This will give students another option. It is good for students, taxpayers and vets,” Block said.
Senate Bill-850 on the California Legislative Information site states, “California needs to produce one million more baccalaureate degrees than the state currently produces to remain economically competitive in the coming decades.”
According to a press release, San Diego Community College District Chancellor Constance Carroll said, “One of the top missions of the California community colleges is workforce education.”
Carroll has been involved with this bill since its inception and Block has called her a “a huge help.”
She shared how she supported it in an email response, “My role was to chair the statewide advocacy effort that involved most of the community college districts and many other organizations. We provided advocacy for the bill by going through the following steps: Senate Education Committee, Senate Budget Committee, full Senate, Assembly Higher Education Committee, Assembly Appropriations Committee, full Assembly, and one final vote by the full Senate. I provided testimony at many of these stages, as did others, along with a strong letter-writing campaign. Our coalition is proud of the fact that all votes were unanimous.”
Carroll also shared that California is not the only state that will now offer bachelors degrees on community college campuses. Florida, Texas, New York and Washington are just a few states that offer bachelors degrees at community colleges, according to the Community College Baccalaureate Association site.
Right now this legislation is listed as a pilot program, therefore, only 15 community colleges in California will be able to offer a bachelor’s degree for one program of study. San Diego City College stands to be among the 15 chosen, according to Senator Block.
The 15 colleges will be selected from the 72 districts in California by the State Chancellor of Community Colleges. “I would suspect that colleges would be able to fully implement these degrees as soon as the fall semester 2015,” Carroll stated in her email.
The timeline described in the text of SB-850 states that the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges can green light bachelor’s degree pilot programs for those colleges after conferring with CSU and UC to begin Jan. 1, 2015 and no later than the 2017 to 2018 academic year.
Students that enter the pilot program to get their baccalaureate degree must complete it by the end of the 2022 to 2023 academic year.