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California Considers Offering Bachelor's Degrees At Community Colleges

California Gov. Jerry Brown is considering a bill that would allow a pilot program for some community colleges there to offer bachelor’s degrees. It would only apply to 15 of the state’s more than 70 districts, and each would only be able to offer one degree program not offered at any of the state’s public universities.

Suzanne Hultin studies community colleges and workforce development issues for the National Conference of State Legislatures. She said the idea of community colleges offering bachelor’s degrees has picked up steam recently.
 
If this concept sounds familiar, it’s probably because it’s been debated in Arizona for nearly 20 years. Linda Thor is the Chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District in Northern California. Before that, she spent nearly two decades as President of Rio Salado College, which is part of the Maricopa Community College District.

Thor was involved in the discussions over getting the pilot program started in California, and worked on the issue here as well. She said there are several reasons for community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees.

KJZZ is licensed to the Maricopa Community College District.

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Mark Brodie is a co-host of The Show, KJZZ’s locally produced news magazine. Since starting at KJZZ in 2002, Brodie has been a host, reporter and producer, including several years covering the Arizona Legislature, based at the Capitol.