Parents who feel blindsided by the ridiculous costs of baccalaureate degrees from 4-year universities are seeking alternative paths for their children. 24 states now allow community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees.
Low-income students, older students with children, or those who are the first in their families to attend college benefit from community colleges that offer bachelor’s degrees. These students are more likely to complete a baccalaureate program if they don’t have to apply to competitive 4-year colleges after they complete their first 2 years.
But public universities worry that they’ll lose applicants if they have to compete with community colleges. The cost of getting a baccalaureate degree at a community college is about 25-50% less expensive than getting the same degree at a university.
In California, there are 15 community colleges that offer just one baccalaureate degree. San Diego Mesa College, for instance, offers a health information management bachelor’s degree, which is neither offered at the Cal State University system nor the University of California system. The program is a huge success with graduates placed in jobs within 3 months.
We need more alternative paths for students to attain that coveted bachelor’s degree. Not every student has the ability to apply to and transfer to 4-year colleges, commit to attending college without working, pay $80,000-$300,000 in tuition and room/board, and leave their family members who might need their support. Let’s open more doors to all students so they can make career choices that work for themselves.