EAC File Photo
By Jon Johnson
PHOENIX – Bachelor degrees at Eastern Arizona College and other community colleges throughout Arizona are set to become a reality.
The Arizona State Senate voted 24-6 in favor of Senate Bill 1453 which allows community colleges to offer four-year degrees – with some caveats requested by the state’s universities.
The bill previously passed the Arizona State House of Representatives with a vote of 57-3 as HB 2523, sponsored by State Representative Becky Nutt (R, LD-14).
“Enabling community colleges in our state to offer four-year degrees will make higher education dramatically more accessible and more affordable for Arizonans,” said Representative Nutt. “It fills gaps between Arizona’s universities and community colleges. Arizonans, especially those in rural, low income and middle-class communities, will have more opportunities to help achieve educational and professional goals, whether to pursue a trade, increase career opportunities, or simply gain more knowledge in areas of interest.”
The bills allow a community college district board, in a county with a population of 750,000 or less, to offer accredited four-year baccalaureate degrees. Programs will need to make their determination to approve a baccalaureate program based on if they can demonstrate a workforce need and student demand for the program, a financial analysis, whether it would unnecessarily duplicate programs offered by universities, and if they can support the program with student enrollment.
For counties with a population of more than 750,000, (Pima County and Maricopa County) additional stipulations are added.
The bill now moves to Governor Doug Ducey to either accept and sign it into law or veto.