A pilot program allowing 15 California community colleges – including San Diego Mesa
College – to offer bachelor’s degrees in critical workforce areas has been extended
through July of 2026, thanks to legislation signed into law September 20 by Governor
Had the Governor vetoed SB 1406 authored by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), students
participating in the California Baccalaureate Pilot Program would have to earn their
diplomas by the end of the 2022-23 academic year. Instead, students can now begin
their bachelor’s degree program as late as the 2022-23 academic year.
“Four-year degrees at community colleges will help create the future workforce in
our state,” Hill said. “These affordable and high-quality degrees available at community
colleges are transforming people’s lives, allowing them to get good-paying jobs close
to home. This legislation and the pilot program’s ongoing success would not be possible
without the tireless work of Chancellor Constance Carroll who has championed this
effort for several years.”
A similar bill seeking to extend the sunset provision was approved by the state Senate
in 2017, but it was held by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. This year, the
Committee approved the successor bill unanimously.
“We at the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) and at college districts throughout
California are truly grateful for Senator Hill and Governor Brown for this much needed
legislation that will extend opportunities for students to earn a bachelor’s degree
in critical workforce areas,” said SDCCD Chancellor Constance M. Carroll. “The pilot
program embodies the California Community Colleges mission of advancing economic growth
by providing excellent, affordable, local bachelor’s programs that lead directly to
Chancellor Carroll played a key leadership role in supporting both the Baccalaureate
Pilot Program and the effort to extend its sunset provision. The pilot program evolved
through years of collaboration with business, industry, and labor. It was authorized
through legislation by former state Senator Marty Block, who also once served as president
of the San Diego Community College District’s Board of Trustees.
Senator Block’s bill was signed into law September 28, 2014, and the first of 15 community
colleges launched their baccalaureate programs the following year.
The Baccalaureate Pilot Program gained support after the Public Policy Institute of
California projected the state would face a shortage of 1.1 million workers with a
bachelor’s degree unless it ramps up college access and completion. A Legislative
Analyst’s Office report released in December concluded the baccalaureate program is
addressing the state’s workforce needs, but concluded more data is needed for a comprehensive
evaluation of its impact.
Baccalaureate programs can only be established at a California community college to
meet regional workforce needs, and they cannot duplicate existing options at the state’s
public universities. The first cohort of students earning bachelor’s degrees through
the pilot program graduated this past spring in programs such as Health Information
Management (at Mesa and Shasta colleges), Industrial Automation (Bakersfield College),
Dental Hygiene (Foothill and West Los Angeles colleges), and Interaction Design (Santa
California is one of 23 states allowing community colleges to offer baccalaureate
degree programs. Students participating in the California program pay approximately
$10,560 in fees and tuition for their four-year degree, a fraction of what they would
pay at private and other public colleges and universities.
As the second-largest of California’s 72 community college districts, the San Diego
Community College District serves approximately 100,000 students annually through
three two-year colleges and San Diego Continuing Education. The three colleges, San
Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College, and San Diego Miramar College, offer associate
degrees and certificates in occupational programs that prepare students for transfer
to four-year colleges and entry-level jobs. Mesa College also offers a bachelor’s
degree in Health Information Management. Continuing Education offers noncredit adult
education at seven campuses throughout San Diego.
Photo Caption: San Diego Mesa College Health Information Management graduates celebrate
at their commencement ceremony held May 19, 2018. They were among the first to earn
a bachelor’s degree from a California community college as part of the state’s baccalaureate
Tags: Bachelor's Degree, HIM, Press Release