More Bachelor’s Degrees Available From Community Colleges

community colleges

Students attending community colleges continue to have more options, including expanded bachelor’s degree offerings, according to the Community College Baccalaureate Association.

Not all states allow community colleges to confer bachelor’s degrees.  In the 24 states that do allow these undergraduate degrees, the number of community colleges offering them is increasing. Between 2021 and 2023, there was a 32% increase with an additional 55 two-year schools adding bachelor’s degrees to their lineup of academic offerings. Collectively, these schools added almost 100 new programs that culminate in bachelor’s degrees within this two-year period.

Texas and California saw the largest expansion of community college bachelor’s degrees. Five states already offer bachelor’s degrees through most of their community colleges; these include Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Nevada, and Washington.

Some states have laws against community colleges conferring four-year degrees, but others—like South Carolina, for example—have chosen not to add certain programs. There could be a variety of reasons for this, including a lack of interest from students and concerns about tarnishing relationships with in-state universities.

Some states report an increased focus on vocational programs and short-term credentials like diplomas and professional certificates. It’s a valid reason; more high school graduates are looking to learn a trade and enter the workforce rather than commit four years to a university degree program.

The two-year schools that have added bachelor’s degree programs are catering to populations that experience barriers to higher education, including minorities and low-income students. Bachelor’s degree programs may be more accessible to these students when offered through community colleges rather than four-year colleges and universities.

For more information, download the full report entitled Watch Them Grow: The Evolution of Community College Baccalaureate Degrees in the United States.

Source: AACC—Community College Baccalaureate Programs Continue To Grow

Related: Top 75 Online Community Colleges