Michigan governor signs bill allowing community colleges to offer some bachelor's degrees

Dec 28, 2012

For the first time, Michigan's community colleges will be able to offer baccalaureate degrees for certain programs.

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a bill that allows the state's community colleges to expand some of their two-year associate degree programs into four-year programs.

The bill allows these colleges to offer degrees in cement technology, maritime technology, energy production technology and culinary arts.

Michigan universities opposed the idea because it breaks their exclusive right to offer bachelor's degrees.

State representative John Walsh introduced the bill. He says the new programs will help advance a students' career and keep their talent in state.

"With a better education, a more thorough education, you can move up into management or take on other responsibilities that an Associate Degree student wouldn't be able to," he said.

Walsh says the changes will only affect a small percentage of students.

"Four-hundred students might benefit from this in our state. We have 400,000 students enrolled in higher ed," he said.

The original version of the bill included another exception for nursing degrees, which was removed.