National Association of Independent College and University State Executives (NAICUSE)
National Association of Independent College and University State Executives (NAICUSE)

Re: [sepolicy] Quick question about BA degrees at community colleges

Dear Friends:

Under current law, Maryland community colleges do not have the authority to offer upper-level coursework. Nevertheless, several Maryland community colleges recently submitted proposals to offer “applied” BA degrees. To clarify State law, the Chair of the Senate education committee has introduced a bill prohibiting community colleges from offering BA degrees. Obviously, we are supporting this bill and are seeking your help.

Several states permit community colleges to offer “applied” BA degrees. For the State Executives in those states – Would you please send me the names of former community colleges that have abandoned their community college missions and now operate as comprehensive four-year institutions?

Thank you for your help!

All the best,

Tina Bjarekull
President of MICUA
(410) 269-0306


From: Ed Moore []
Sent: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 11:24 AM
To: SEpolicy <>
Subject: RE:[sepolicy] Quick question about BA degrees at community colleges

Remember when I warned of this at a summer meeting about a decade ago and generally was told that this is a Florida problem? They start out with this “applied BS to meet community demands” nonsense, then they just drift into all kinds of offerings. I think Florida is now over 20 of the 28 “state colleges” (name changes also come with this”, with around 180 offerings. Now they are resisting a Florida Senate proposal to limit total degree output for the sector. They will all want to be four year colleges once their nose is under the tent.




In 2003, the Texas Legislature authorized three community colleges, on a pilot program basis, to offer a maximum of five applied baccalaureate degrees. In 2011, the pilot status was removed and this authority was made permanent – again, only for three specific community colleges in Texas (out of a total of around 50) and only for up to five applied bachelor’s degrees. Those three community colleges are: Brazosport College in Lake Jackson, South Texas Community College in McAllen and Midland College in Midland, Texas. All three schools currently offer bachelor’s degrees in applied science and technology fields.

It would have been great if the Texas Legislature would have heeded the lessons of Florida (and listened to Ed Moore!) and stopped there, but we didn’t.

Last year, the Texas Legislature passed a bill (SB 2118) that now extends the expansion authority to most Texas community colleges to offer baccalaureate programs in the fields of applied technology, applied science, early childhood education and nursing.

Unfortunately, what’s happening in Florida with community colleges’ mission creep will likely soon become the norm in Texas as well.

I’m not sure any of this is entirely on-point to your question, Tina, but hopefully this is helpful. Of course, if you need any additional information from our experience here in Texas, we’re happy to help.


Ray Martinez III, J.D.
Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas, Inc. (ICUT)
Work: (512) 615-9315 | Cell: (512) 653-3331
1303 San Antonio Street, Suite 820 | Austin, Texas 78701


Hi All,
Very timely discussion. I’m literally in the middle of a legislative battle in Colorado on this and we are losing. Since 2014 our community college system is limited to five or six BAS degrees and they can offer more if they show our statewide coordinating board that the program is cost effective, in demand and that the degree can be distinguished from existing offerings. The 2014 bill was justified partly on the changes in Florida and Texas.
This year our community college system is running legislation to let any unit in the system (13 community colleges) offer a BSN and they don’t have to prove anything to our statewide coordinating board – they approve it internally within the community college system.
Community colleges cut side deals with most of the public four-year IHEs so we are part of a small group left opposing this bill. They have gained traction across party lines and we are going to lose our fight against this bill. So I wouldn’t say the community colleges have abandoned their two-year mission, but they are happily expanding into a new role and mission. We are absolutely on the same path as Florida and Texas.
This is an absurd outcome, but honestly our side’s arguments are failing. We are fighting a headwind where anything related to internships, externships and certificates is desirable while we are painted as expensive and elitist. Even long-time legislators that know better are suddenly convinced that community colleges can do anything we can do but at lower cost.
I don’t have an answer to this but I’ve figured out a couple of things that make sense (at least in Colorado):
1. It doesn’t pay to fight directly against this perception even if it is misguided. The public and privates here do much better by developing partnerships and working alongside two-year role and mission,
2. Work with the four-year publics on this issue. They are equally concerned.
3. Bring more students and alumni to the statehouse – especially transfer students who experienced both two-year and four-year programs. Students and alumni who have been in both worlds are loyal to where they actually got a degree.

For what it’s worth . . .

From: Violet A. Boyer []
Sent: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 1:26 PM
To: SEpolicy <>
Subject: RE:[sepolicy] Quick question about BA degrees at community colleges

Camel’s nose! As soon as the community college wants to offer one baccalaureate degree to one student, our regional accreditor requires it to be accredited as a baccalaureate college. We have 34 community and technical colleges and at least 23 no longer are community colleges. See the list on this web site. (those without community or technical in their name offer applied bachelor’s degrees including nursing, business, and teacher preparation.

Total headcount: 380,918
Headcount in applied bachelor’s degrees: 2,178

Violet A. Boyer
President and CEO
Independent Colleges of Washington
600 Stewart Street, Ste 600, Seattle 98101
v: 206-623-4494 c: 206-714-2402


From: Kristen F. Soares []
Sent: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 7:12 PM
To: SEpolicy <>
Subject: Re: [sepolicy] Quick question about BA degrees at community colleges


In 2014, California passed legislation granting authority to the Community Colleges to Offer Bachelor’s Degrees on a Pilot Basis at 15 community college districts.
Each pilot community college district could only offer one bachelor’s program at one college site in programs where they could demonstrate programs with unmet bachelor’s level workforce needs. Additionally, the programs were to be selected in consultation with the California State University (CSU) and the University of California (UC) to ensure a district does not duplicate a bachelor’s degree already offered by one of the universities. They are not required to consult with the ICCU’s.
The Pilot is required to be evaluated and the first report was recently released:

Last year, there was an attempt to expand the program offerings but those efforts died when the Chair of the Higher Ed Committee insisted on the required Pilot evaluations.

We anticipate that they will keep pushing on this……especially as their enrollments decline in CA.

Good luck and happy to answer any questions!


Kristen F. Soares l President

1121 L Street, Suite 802 l Sacramento, CA 95814
916.446.7626l |


From: Mary Beth Labate []
Sent: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 9:29 PM
To: SEpolicy <>
Subject: Re: [sepolicy] Quick question about BA degrees at community colleges

Hi Tina,

New York has one community college (The Fashion Institute of Technology – FIT) that awards BAs. It is generally not thought of as a community college. We have other community colleges that offer joint degrees with 4 year schools but generally there has not been a push in NYS to allow community colleges to award BAs. I would expect significant pushback from the public 4 year schools if this issue were to surface in a serious way. There are only so many students to go around in NYS!