Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Michigan Community Colleges Lobby for 4-Year Degrees

Several weeks ago, President Obama spoke to a large crowd of residents at Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan. He plans to boost and strengthen community colleges.

However, the state's public universities oppose community colleges having the right to grant bachelor's degrees. They believe community colleges serve a different mission to the community.
So far, community colleges have won the right to offer four-year degrees in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Hawaii, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia, the Community College Baccalaureate Association says. Legislative efforts to extend the practice could come soon in Arizona and California, said Beth Hagan, executive director of the Fort Myers, Fla.-based group.

Four-year universities in Michigan claim that this will create unnecessary competition. The universities are located everywhere across the state.
Four-year campuses want the community colleges to stick to their core mission. Michael Boulus, executive director of the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan, said community colleges should stick with what they do best: offering post-high school remedial education, preparing students to enter four-year colleges and granting technical certificates and two-year degrees.

"We have our distinct missions," said Boulus. "The two-year and the four-year institutions are very different."

Do you think Michigan community colleges should offer bachelor's degrees? If yes, should it only be limited to specific programs such as culinary arts and nursing?

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