Soon committees of the Texas Legislature will begin considering the addition of community colleges permitted under the law to offer bachelor's degrees in certain workforce fields.
The Coordinating Board has recommended that community colleges be allowed to offer such degrees in nursing and applied sciences, if the institutions can demonstrate an unmet workforce need in their areas. South Texas College, Midland College, and Brazosport College are the only such schools in Texas currently able to offer bachelor's degrees, under a 2003 statute.
The Alamo Colleges now plan to ask for such permission, as reported in the San Antonio Express-News, by Alia Malik. It's not clear what programs leaders have in mind. In the past, the district has proposed offering four-year degrees in fire science, nursing, and sign language, the article reports. Other schools may follow suit.
Many business leaders in San Antonio are on the team, lining up support from local lawmakers. You can get details on the players from the article.
It's important to emphasize that, assuming permission is granted, it will probably apply only in narrow fields of study. However, area state universities (in this case UT-San Antonio and Texas A&M University-San Antonio) may not be anxious for certain programs to launch—with courses that may duplicate their offerings at the baccalaureate level. One might also mention that, in San Antonio, there are several private schools with workforce programs.
Several states now allow bachelor's degrees at certain community colleges. Recently, it was reported that California may soon be expanding significantly in this direction.