The worth of community colleges’ new four-year degrees

Fifteen California community colleges will soon begin offering four-year degrees in health information, respiratory care, dental hygiene, emergency services and more under SB 850.

Loma Linda University has offered the same four-year degree in health information which will now be offered at select California community colleges. Courtesy: GC Communication, Flick (CC)

Loma Linda University has offered the same four-year degree in health information which will now be offered at select California community colleges.
Courtesy: GC Communication, Flick (CC)

However, how these degrees will be regarded by employers is uncertain—which is why the preliminary approval calls for the state to monitor the amount of students who will graduate from these programs, what types of jobs they land and how much they’ll be making.

The LA Times further explored the potential worth in a Feb. 4 article.

The report highlighted research by Joni Hersch, a law and economics professor at Vanderbilt University, which demonstrated a relation between salary and the institution an individual receives their undergraduate degree from. Hersch also factored in the graduate institutions, but found the undergraduate institution influenced the amount of salary more.

The bill, however, does not allow community colleges to offer the same Bachelor programs available at “nearby state, four-year schools.”

San Diego Mesa College is among the 15 community colleges who will offer the programs. Pamela Luster, the college’s president, said “it was not an issue at all” to local businesses for these future graduates to have obtained their Bachelor degrees from traditionally two-years institutions.

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