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Bachelor's Degrees at Community Colleges

JANUARY 20, 2020

More community colleges are offering bachelor's degrees, according to Community College Research Initiatives at the University of Washington.  But how they are being implemented varies across the country.  Twenty-three states now allow public two-year institutions to confer bachelor's degrees, but to varying degrees.  Some states allow all two-year institutions to confer bachelor's degrees, while others allow some but not all, limiting the ability to confer degrees to certain institutions.  Nearly 13 percent of the 941 public two-year colleges in the country offer bachelor's degrees, according to the 2019 American Association of Community Colleges Report.  Some states also limit two-year institutions to conferring bachelor's degrees in specific fields of study, typically based on the state's workforce needs.  

Initial outcomes in several states look good so far showing positive impacts on enrollment, high completion rates and earnings on par with those who graduate from four-year institutions.  This new trend will have a negative impact on the enrollment at mot four-year public and private institutions since community colleges have been a major feeder for transfer students.  This is all part of the major changes that are taking place in higher education.

Larry J. McKinney
Higher Education Consultant

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