The Applied Workforce Degree

From an article in Community College Times comes an article indicating that it’s now increasingly common for community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees:

[The] embrace of four-year degrees represents a larger national trend that is seeing community colleges across the country increasingly getting the authority to award bachelor’s degrees, said Beth Hagan, executive director of the Community College Baccalaureate Association (CCBA).

“It’s all about meeting unmet needs,” she said, noting that 17 states—including New York, Texas and Florida—currently allow for community colleges to offer a variety of four-year degrees.

California, too, is considering whether its community colleges can offer bachelor’s degrees.

According to Hagan, when states consider allowing more schools to grant BAs, they begin by asking state universities if they’re interested in offering “an applied workforce degree, a bachelor’s of arts degree.” The universities tend to say they’re not willing to offer that sort of thing.

Part of this has to do with the nature of an applied workforce degree. While that includes subjects like nursing, it’s also often further afield. Michigan’s community colleges, for instance, now offer a bachelor (of arts, oddly) degree in something called concrete technology. A bachelor’s degree in concrete technology is not exactly the sort of thing most colleges are prepared to offer. Or, at any rate, they can’t offer it for just $2,000 a year, roughly the average annual cost for tuition and fees at an American community college

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer