Maricopa University District Prepares to Offer 4-Year Degrees

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PHOENIX (AP) – Arizona’s largest community college system, acting under new state law, has released a list of planned four-year degrees in education, care health, information technology and other fields.

The Maricopa County Community College District announced on Wednesday that the planned degrees will be offered “as early as fall 2023”, pending approval from the district board of directors and the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditation agency.

Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill in May approved by the Legislature to allow community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees. Prior to the new law, community colleges could only offer degrees in programs no longer than two years, as well as professional certifications.

The district’s planned offerings of community colleges, spread across eight of the district’s 10 colleges, include bachelor’s degrees in programming and data analysis, information technology, public safety administration, behavioral health sciences, and imaging technology and imaging. nuclear medicine, early childhood education and dual certification in primary and special education.

The district said the teams had identified programs that meet the intent of the new law to expand the state’s higher education opportunities.

“These programs will support many students served by the MCCCD, who would generally not transfer to a university after graduating from two years,” the district said in a statement. declaration. “Now, students in these programs will have the convenience and affordability of continuing after their associate degree at one of MCCCD’s colleges. “

The next step in the process will be to increase the coursework and requirements for each degree over the next year, said the district, which currently serves around 100,000 students.

The district “looks forward to continuing to offer additional bachelor’s degrees in high demand industrial sectors in the coming years, such as nursing and respiratory care …”, the district statement said.

Supporters of proposals to allow community colleges to offer four-year degrees have pointed to higher tuition fees to earn four-year degrees at Arizona’s three public universities and the ability to provide higher education. closer to the students’ homes.

Critics cited the potential for duplication with universities, which have an array of satellite campuses outside of their main campuses. They said community college students can be transferred to a university to earn four-year degrees.

Ducey, in signing the legislation, said it would help train the state’s current and future workforce and provide new options for students, including those from populations historically under-represented in education. superior.

“Arizona is a state of school choice, and today’s action is a school choice for higher education,” Ducey said in a declaration.


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