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California Community Colleges moving forward with bachelor’s degree approvals despite lawmaker objections

California Community Colleges moving forward with bachelor’s degree approvals despite lawmaker objections

EdSource

Michael Burke
April 25, 2023
California’s community college system will continue processing applications for new baccalaureate degrees, even after top lawmakers requested a pause on doing so following complaints from California State University officials.
“The Chancellor’s Office has not stopped processing cycle 2 applications at this time,” Melissa Villarin, a spokesperson for the state chancellor’s office that oversees California’s 116 community colleges, told EdSource on Tuesday.
Assembly Bill 927 allows the chancellor’s office to approve up to 30 new bachelor’s degree programs annually at community colleges across the state. The approvals are done across two cycles each year, and a maximum of 15 programs can be approved per cycle. But last week, Assemblymember Mike Fong, D-Alhambra, and state Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, wrote to the chancellor’s office to request a pause on the current cycle of applications. Fong is the chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, and Newman chairs the Senate Education Committee.
In a response letter issued Tuesday to Fong and Newman, the community college system’s interim chancellor, Daisy Gonzales, cited “strict timelines” that the system must meet under state law for processing applications and described plans to move forward with this cycle’s applications. The system received 29 applications for the current cycle and wants to approve 14 of them.
In a statement to EdSource Tuesday, Fong said he appreciated the response from the chancellor’s office and called on the community colleges and CSU to work together to resolve their disputes. “As a former community college trustee, I was very supportive of baccalaureate degrees in community colleges, and as chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, I remain supportive,” he said.
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