In recent years, community colleges have been experimenting with baccalaureate degree programs. With great success, many states are now encouraging community colleges to offer bachelor’s degree programs, as they promote the acquisition of higher education for the greater public, while also providing degree programs in an increasingly wide range of majors and subject areas.
The Growing Trend
While baccalaureate degrees were traditionally only earned through a university or four-year institution, a drastic shift began to occur in the 1990s. At this time, the Community College Baccalaureate Association (CCBA) sought to change this tradition, and devised the mission statement that they intended to: "promote the development and acceptance of the community college baccalaureate degree as a means of addressing the national problems of student access, demand, and cost.” In support, The American Association of Community Colleges has also recognized the community college baccalaureate as, “an emerging development in higher education.”
The reason community college baccalaureate degrees have become so popular is threefold. First, community colleges are able to respond to increased workforce needs more quickly than four-year institutions. For example, increased demand in recent years for qualified healthcare workers, such as nurses, has led to explosive growth of bachelor degree programs in nursing at the community college level. Secondly, community colleges have been able to respond to economic pressures facing students and communities because, on average, community colleges are far less expensive than four-year institutions. And lastly, community colleges have been increasing the accessibility of higher education by making degree programs more affordable and manageable than traditional universities. Many
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