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Budget Fears Doom Community College 4-Year Degrees

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An image from the hearing on Monday (credit: CBS)

An image from the hearing on Monday (credit: CBS)

DENVER (AP/CBS4) – Bachelor’s degrees won’t be available at Colorado community colleges any time soon.

A House committee on Monday killed a bill that would have allowed two-year colleges to offer select four-year degrees.

The Senate had approved the legislation, which would’ve opened the door for community colleges to offer bachelor of applied science degrees in fields like dental hygiene or mortuary science.

Proponents argued those fields aren’t taught at Colorado’s four-year colleges and universities. Supporters also said the bill would provide students in rural areas better access to four-year degrees.

“In order to get a four-year degree they must start all over at four-year college or institution, their credits don’t transfer, and in addition they must quit their job, uproot their families, and move to wherever that four year degree might be offered,” said Nancy McCallin, Colorado Community College System President.

But legislators seemed concerned the state’s higher education budget could not support adding degree programs at community colleges. An estimate on the bill’s potential costs wasn’t given.

Lawmakers called for greater collaboration between community colleges and four-year universities to meet students’ needs.

Four-year-schools, including University of Colorado and Colorado State University, stepped up their opposition in the House arguing the bill wasn’t necessary, and argued they would lose some of the little money coming their way.

“I must say I find it a little hard to believe that every place-bound student in rural part of state wants be either a funeral director or dental hygienist. I believe choice ought to be done through collaboration,” CSU Chancellor Michael Martin said.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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