Community Colleges Offer 4 Year Degrees

Governor John Kasich pushes for community colleges to offer four year degrees. Kasich made the statement during his State of the State address in Marietta, Ohio.

“We’re proposing efforts to allow more students the ability to study for three years at a lower cost on a community college campus and then transfer to a four-year university for a final year to earn their degrees,” Kasich said.

The proposal will allow community colleges to offer four year degree programs at a more affordable cost.

Jeff Robinson, Director of Communications for the Ohio Board of Regents, said the process is still in the works.

“It needs to be a program that is not offered by a four year university in the region, so it would be something new for students that they would not be able to get at the university,” Robinson said.

The process starts with the Ohio Board of Regents, then moves to an agency for program approval. Final approval goes to the Higher Learning Commission before it is implemented into the curriculum.

The community colleges would create new degrees that are not offered at universities. How would the universities benefit from this proposal?

“The four years want to see what is going to be the benefit to them, but the benefit is, they are going to get a student to come in and take that fourth year and be ready to graduate,” Lisa Williams, Vice President of Learning and Engagement at Cuyahoga Community College said.

Cuyahoga Community College is one of the largest community colleges and first to open in Ohio. It offers associates degrees and has many partnerships with in-state and out of state universities.

Ohio community colleges have other options for affordable education. Williams said the focus is not on community colleges offering bachelors degrees.

“An area we are going to look at is the 3 plus one concept,” Williams said.

The three plus one program allows students to take courses at a community college for three years and transfer to a university for the last year. Currently, Tri-c has this partnership with Ohio University.

“Students can take their three years here and do the rest online,” Williams said.

Robinson said there needs to be more partnerships amongst two year colleges and four year universities.

According to Kasich, the cost would be cut by 75 percent to pursue a bachelors degree. The graph below shows the cost of tuition for community colleges for a full year.

*Data extracted from Ohio Higher Education*

“We want to make college more affordable. We want to partner with our four years and we want to make sure they get that associates degree and then successfully go on to that bachelors,” Williams said.