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MCCCD planning to offer bachelor’s degrees after new state law

graduation college AP
Posted at 5:24 AM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-17 07:27:21-05

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Community College District is in the planning stages of offering bachelor’s degrees at eight of its 10 campuses in the Valley.

Community colleges across the state have been given the authority by Governor Doug Ducey and the Arizona State Legislature to offer bachelor's degrees after a bill was signed into law this year.

The bachelor’s degree programs college officials have been designing are mainly focused on the education, information technology, and public health industries:

  • BAS, Programming and Data Analytics — Mesa
  • BAS, Information Technology — Estrella Mountain and Phoenix
  • BAS, Public Safety Administration — Phoenix and Rio Salado
  • BS, Behavioral Health Science — South Mountain
  • BAS, Nuclear Medicine Technology and Computed Tomography — GateWay
  • BA, Early Childhood Education: Dual Language — Mesa
  • BA, Education, Dual Certification in Elementary/Special Education — Glendale, Paradise Valley, and Rio Salado

“Everything we're looking at is: is there an unmet workforce need and can we deliver a program that will help to meet that?,” said MCCCD C.J. Wurster. “We're not just starting degrees because they sound good or look good, but we're truly trying to address a need that exists.”

The main reason for these programs, however, is to help students achieve their goals in a more accessible and affordable way.

“Typically, we see a huge population of part-time students, a lot of first-generation students, and oftentimes, they choose community college because of the accessibility and because of the more individualized attention that they can get,” said Wurster.

Right now, students can get two-year degrees at Maricopa Community Colleges, or transfer credits to a university to continue to a bachelor’s degree. University tuition rates are typically three times the cost of community college tuition rates, according to Wurster.

Wurster said they have a great relationship with their partner universities, but they want to provide more options to their students who may not want to go through the process of transferring and need to stay closer to home.

MCCCD will be creating courses and requirements for the proposed degree programs over the next year.

They will then seek approval from the MCCCD Governing Board and accrediting agency, with the goal of offering the bachelor’s degree programs as soon as fall 2023.

To learn more, go to their website.