College Trends: More Bachelor’s Degrees in Community Colleges

Can you get a bachelor’s degree at a community college? That’s a question that all students have when anyone suggests looking into community college. The question is not surprising. Up until a few years ago, community colleges didn’t offer bachelor’s degrees. The good news is that’s changed over the past few years. Today, there’s a long list of community colleges that offer bachelor degrees. And that list is growing bigger every year.

Austin Community College

Flickr user Austin Community College

How Community Colleges Have Changed

Traditionally, community colleges offered only Associate Degrees. These are degrees students earn after completing a 2-year program. After earning their associate degree, many students can then transfer to a 4-year university. Here they can complete the remaining two years to earn a bachelor’s degree. This 2+2 path is a much cheaper way to get a bachelor’s degree compared to doing all four years at a private university.

Despite the savings, the cost is still out of reach for many families, especially in the post-pandemic era. With finances already tight and an uncertain future looming, everyone’s looking for ways to save money. In order to help fill a pressing need, many states are allowing community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees. This started off as an experiment in just a couple of states. Today, 24 states across the US allow select community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees. This is great news as it makes higher education more affordable to all communities.

Benefits Of Getting a Bachelor’s Degree at a Community College

Affordability is the overriding benefit of completing a four-year program at community college. You can get a bachelor’s degree through a community college at a fraction of what it would cost through a private university. You can save even more on food and accommodation if you choose an institution close to home. Imagine being able to graduate with minimum or no student loan debt!

A flexible schedule is another benefit of enrolling in a 4-year program in community college. Most community college students have personal commitments or work full time or part time. In order to accommodate their students’ various needs, these schools often schedule more night and weekend classes. This allows students to pursue a bachelor’s degree while still being able to fulfill their other commitments.

Another benefit lies in the way the courses are structured. In private universities, you have a lot of gen ed classes in the first year and narrow down by the fourth year.  Community colleges are structured differently. They offer more career-oriented degrees that prepare you for a specific career. Some of the more popular majors are those that prepare students for careers in health care, bio-manufacturing, and business. Many colleges also partner up with local businesses, which increases internship opportunities and even job placements for students.

How Does a Community College Bachelor’s Degree Compare with a Four-Year University?

A bachelor’s degree from a community college is as valuable as one obtained from a 4-year college. The true value lies in what you take away from your four years in college.

Community colleges are known to offer solid academic programs that are as good as any private university. The only reason they cost less is they do not offer the lavish facilities that private universities do. For the amount of money that you’ll save, it’s definitely worth enrolling in a community college that offers the program you’re interested in.

In Which States Can You Get A Bachelor’s Degree at a Community College?

As of now, only 24 states allow community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees including Florida, Washington, California, Georgia, South Carolina, Minnesota, Louisiana, Oregon, Texas, and Ohio.

You can find out if community colleges offer bachelor degrees in your state by checking your state’s Department of Education’s website.

List Of Community Colleges That Offer Bachelor’s Degrees

These are some of many community colleges that offer bachelor’s degrees:

  • Valencia Community College Orlando, Florida offers a BSc in Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology and a BSc in Radiologic and Imaging Sciences among others.
  • Santa Ana College, CA, offers a BSc in Occupational Studies.
  • Columbia Basin College, Washington, offers a Bachelor’s Degree of Applied Science in Applied Management.
  • Miami Dade College, Southern Florida, offers a range of bachelor’s degrees. It has recently added physician assistant studies and supervision, electronics engineering, television and digital production, film studies, and management to its suite of 4-year programs.
  • MiraCosta College, Oceanside, California, offers a Bachelor’s Degree in Biomanufacturing.

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