California Community College leaders have indicated they plan to move forward with approving bachelor’s degree programs at their institutions, despite a request from state lawmakers to pause in response to objections from the California State University system, EdSource reported.
Legislation signed into law last October, Assembly Bill 927, made permanent a set of 15 pilot baccalaureate programs at community colleges and allows new four-year programs at these institutions. Community colleges can apply to offer up to 30 new baccalaureate programs annually if the programs don’t duplicate existing programs at universities in the state.
Assemblymember Mike Fong, who chairs the Assembly higher education committee, and State Senator Josh Newman, who chairs the Senate education committee, wrote a letter to the chancellor’s office last week asking the community college system to halt the current cycle of applications to “discuss a better resolution process for disputes” and “better define program duplication,” Cal Matters first reported. The request came after California State University system leaders complained that the chancellor’s office approved an applied fire management program at Feather River College, despite their objections that it resembled programs their campuses offer.
Daisy Gonzales, interim chancellor of the California Community College system, responded to the state lawmakers in a letter on Tuesday saying Assembly Bill 927 established “strict timelines” to approve baccalaureate programs, and community college districts had already “dedicated substantial time and effort to preparing degree program proposals.” She noted that the system had received 29 applications, and 14 met the criteria to move forward to the next stage of the approval process.
“The Chancellor’s Office has not stopped processing cycle 2 applications at this time,” Melissa Villarin, a spokesperson for the chancellor’s office, told EdSource on Tuesday.