(Orange, CA) – In response to news that California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 927 (AB 927) into law yesterday, which allows community colleges to permanently offer bachelor’s degrees, Santiago Canyon College (SCC) announced that it would intensify efforts toward developing baccalaureate degree programs at its campus. The new program developments will expand on the existing degrees already available at community colleges that were among the original 15 pilot programs approved by the Board of Governors in 2015.
With this new legislation, led by the massive success of the pilot programs and support of business and trade organizations, students will be able to earn bachelor’s degrees from community colleges for an approximate cost of only $10,000. According to AB 927, the degree programs must address demonstrated workforce needs in the local communities and cannot duplicate what is offered by the University of California (UC) system or California State University (CSU).
“RSCCD has always been committed to providing the best educational programs for our community,” said RSCCD Board of Trustees President Phillip Yarbrough. “AB 927 enables our two colleges to continue in that tradition by allowing the creation of additional bachelor’s degree programs to help students increase job security and provide financial stability for their families.”
Community colleges have historically been able to offer only certificates and associate degrees to students so as not to compete with the 4-year universities. However, under AB 927, California will now join 24 other states in the nation that empower their community colleges to offer the baccalaureate.
“The excitement and anticipation of instituting a bachelor’s degree program, or two, at our campus is beyond measure among faculty and staff,” expressed Dr. Pamela Ralston, Santiago Canyon College President. “Our proposed programs will be based on research and collaboration with our business community and public service agencies to determine progressive careers that will be in high-demand to set students up for future success.”
All 116 community colleges in California will be able to apply for bachelor’s degree programs following a process developed by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. The proposals are not to exceed 30 new baccalaureate programs each year and to ensure fidelity to the traditional community college mission, no more than 25 percent of any individual community college’s degree programs may be baccalaureate programs, according to the Assembly Bill. In addition, a communication process will be implemented to provide effective sharing of information among the California Community Colleges, the CSU and UC systems.
For more information contact RSCCD Communications Office at (714) 480-7500.