Governor Brown Signs Bill by Senator Jerry Hill to Extend Baccalaureate Degree Pilot Program at California Community Colleges

September 20, 2018

For Immediate Release – Office of State Senator Jerry Hill—September 20, 2018

Governor Brown Signs Bill by Senator Jerry Hill to Extend Baccalaureate Degree Pilot Program at California Community Colleges

SACRAMENTO – Governor Brown signed legislation by state Senator Jerry Hill today to extend a pilot program allowing students to earn baccalaureate degrees at 15 California community colleges.

Senate Bill 1406 is about the future workforce in our state and bringing greater opportunities for higher education within reach of more students, close to their homes, and at much less cost,” said Senator Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties.

The changes authorized by the legislation allow community colleges to enroll students for the pilot for a few more years so that the final group of participants begins their degree program no later than the 2022-23 academic year and completes it by June 30, 2026.

The bill follows SB 850, legislation introduced by then-Senator Marty Block in 2014. SB 850 authorized the launch of the pilot program and set it to end in summer 2023.

A January 2017 study by the Public Policy Institute of California found that the state’s higher education system is not keeping up with California’s changing economy.

The study said “only 33 percent of working-age adults in California will have bachelor’s degrees by 2030—a shortfall of 1.1 million college graduates” needed for the state’s projected workforce. “Community colleges account for more than half of undergraduate enrollment in California—open access, wide geographic distribution, and relatively low fees make them especially popular,” the study also said. It noted, however, that “many students never transfer to four-year schools. Approximately one in ten community college students transfer to a four-year university.”

Twenty-two other states allow community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees. California will be evaluating the pilot program here to evaluate its effectiveness and make recommendations on whether it should continue.

Noting the progress thus far, Senator Hill said: “This legislation and the pilot program’s ongoing success would not be possible without the tireless work of Dr. Constance Carroll, the chancellor of the San Diego Community College District, and Dr. Judy Miner, chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, who have championed this effort for several years. SB 1406 gives California’s pilot program an even better chance to demonstrate its value.”

This summer, the pilot program’s first crop of graduates earned their bachelor’s degrees.

The pilot program participants and the studies for which they offer baccalaureate degrees are Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, airframe manufacturing technology; Bakersfield College, industrial automation; Cypress College, mortuary science; Feather River College in Quincy, Plumas County, equine industry; Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, dental hygiene; Mesa College in San Diego, health information management; Mira Costa College in Oceanside, biomanufacturing; Modesto Junior College, respiratory care; Rio Hondo College in Whittier, automotive technology; Santa Ana College, occupational studies; Santa Monica College, interaction design; Shasta College in Redding, health information management; Solano Community College in Vacaville, biomanufacturing; Skyline College in San Bruno, respiratory care; and West Los Angeles College, dental hygiene.

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SB 1406 Fact Sheet:
https://sd13.senate.ca.gov/sites/sd13.senate.ca.gov/files/pdf/sb1406_factsheet_0.pdf

Media Contact: Leslie Guevarra, 415-298-3404, leslie.guevarra@sen.ca.gov