SAN DIEGO -- MiraCosta and San Diego Mesa colleges were among 15 community colleges selected statewide Tuesday to offer four-year bachelor's degree programs.
MiraCosta in Oceanside will offer a degree in bio-manufacturing, while Mesa will offer a degree in health information management at its Kearny Mesa campus.
“There is a robust labor market need for medical records managers,'' Mesa College President Pamela Luster said. “We have tremendous student demand, superior faculty, and overwhelming support from our healthcare industry partners who stand ready to employ our graduates.''
Mesa College already offers an associates degree in the subject. Junior- level classes will begin in the fall of 2016.
Until now, the only public schools that awarded four-year degrees were in the University of California or California State University systems.
Said Margie Fritch who helped create the program, "The only program offered is at Loma Linda and its about $30k a year, so $11-thousand versus $30-thousand for a full 4-year degree is pretty amazing."
The pilot program for offering bachelor's degrees at community colleges was started to keep higher education accessible and affordable, while helping to keep the state economically competitive, said Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego, who authored the bill that provides for the change.
“SB 850 students will really get a bang for their buck and will represent the diverse population of California's community colleges, including returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan,'' Block said. “All are needed to keep California competitive.''
The schools were selected by the California Community College Board of Governors and Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris. The community college board is set to ratify the picks in March.
For students is a way to continue their education and career path without going into severe debt and said student Vanessa Garcia, one can still live at home and work, "It’s a great opportunity for students who come from a low income family because they get the to pay significantly less money compared to 4-year degree or institute."