Should Community Colleges Offer 4-Year Degrees? (video)

Picacho Peak, rural Arizona

Should Arizona community colleges be allowed to offer four-year degrees? I would like to hear your opinions on this. I am on the fence.

“COVID orphan” bill HB2523 would allow Arizona community colleges to offer four-year degrees. According to supporters, besides being cheaper (because students would be local and rates would be lower), expanded capabilities for community colleges would allow them to offer degrees in subjects not offered by the universities.

I asked the sponsor Rep. Becky Nutt what subjects they would offer, and she said it was up to them. The problem with that reply is that the Legislature eliminated the community college oversight board several years ago. The university system has the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) to oversee the system. Community colleges have no ABOR. I think they need oversight and coordination if they’re going to be allowed to expand like this.

Also, as someone who grew up in a small town, there is something to be said for leaving that small town when you go to college.

UPDATE: I posted this video on Facebook on February 18, 2021. Most of my constituents said that the community college system works well the way it is. They like that Pima Community College offers courses that are directly transferable to the universities and they like the certificates and AA degrees. I voted no on this because my constituents said it was not needed. Also — the proponents couldn’t give ANY examples of what degrees would be taught in the four-year community colleges that are not taught through the universities.

UPDATE: As of April 16, 2021, HB2523 has not made it out of the Senate Rules Committee.