Community Colleges May Offer 4-Year Degrees - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Community Colleges May Offer 4-Year Degrees

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Community colleges in Michigan may soon offer four-year degrees in certain fields.

"I knew that I would have to deduct so much of my pay to be able to be a member of this union and I didn't have a choice of whether I wanted to be the union or not. I had no choice. Now with this legislation, you have choice," said Dan Phelan, President of Jackson community College.

Phelan compares the controversial right to work legislation to a bill that would allow two-year colleges in the state to offer four-year degrees in some studies.

"At the state of Michigan in higher education, you don't have the option right now whether you want to get a low cost, high quality alternative for a baccalaureate degree in some fields," said Phelan.

Phelan says it's the law would make bachelor's degree accessible for more students because of cost.

According to the college board, the average in-state tuition and fees for a public university in Michigan is $11,200 compared to community college, which is $3,000.

But opponents of the bill say universities already offer four-year programs on community college campuses and the move would duplicate efforts, wasting taxpayer dollars. Phalen says broadening community college programs will be a boom for local business too.

"The vast majority of students who come to community colleges continue to stay in the community and that's important for economic development at the lcoal level, not so at universities," he says.

 

Lawmakers passed the bill last week, but Governor Snyder has not yet signed it.

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