Arizona community colleges offering 4-year degrees

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A recently passed law allows students to receive 4-year degrees at Arizona community colleges. We learned more from Darcy Renfro, she’s with the Maricopa County Community College District.

This is something that has been in the works for years now and it’s finally a reality, “we’re really pleased that we think we’re able to present students with more options and options that are going to enable them to stay in their communities, get the education they want and be able to stay there and work in their community,” Renfro said.

Because this has been an ongoing process to get the law passed, this year was different by encompassing limitations within the program.

“I believe it was successful, we were successful this year in getting this legislation passed were the guardrails that were put in place, and we were very clear that we don’t want to be competing with universities and so with that we accepted a limit for the larger community college districts which would include Maricopa Community College District as well as Pima,” Renfro said.

The total limitations for these college districts is, “only allow 5% of our total programs, offerings to be baccalaureate degree offerings for the first five years, and then that goes up to 10% after five years,” Renfro said.

Are community college bachelor degrees going to be different than obtaining one from a university?

“Everything that the university would have to do to offer a bachelor’s degree will have to prove and do as well. The final piece here which is part of the accreditation as well, is, is to ensure that the programs we’re offering are actually meeting a market need,” Renfro said.

Community colleges will and must follow the same educational plans a university does. This creates accessibility for students across the state, “we’re really excited we think it’s going to be great for students in Arizona, and it’s gonna bring us a whole new bunch of individuals who really want to further their, their opportunities, and they’re going to get a chance to,” Renfro said.

Darcy Renfro

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