This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SAN DIEGO – California’s 4-year degree pilot program at community colleges was extended Thursday.

Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1406, which allows 15 California community colleges-including San Diego Mesa College-to offer Bachelor’s degrees in critical workforce areas, has been extended through July 2026.

“Four-year degrees at community colleges will help create the future workforce in our state,” Senator Jerry Hill said. “These affordable and high-quality degrees available at community colleges are transforming people’s lives, allowing them to get good-paying jobs close to home.”

Had the Governor vetoed SB 1406, participating students would have to earn their diplomas by the end of the 2022-23 academic year, according to the San Diego Community College District. However, now students can begin their bachelor’s degree program as late as the 2022-23 academic year.

Baccalaureate programs can only be established at a California community college to meet workforce needs in the region, they can’t duplicate existing options at the state’s public universities, SDCCD said.

The first students earning bachelor’s degrees through the pilot program graduated this spring in programs such as Health Information Management (at Mesa and Shasta colleges), Industrial Automation (Bakersfield College), Dental Hygiene (Foothill and West Los Angeles colleges), and Interaction Design (Santa Monica College).

California is one of 23 states allowing community colleges to offer baccalaureate degree programs. Students participating in the California program pay approximately $10,560 in fees and tuition for their four-year degree, a fraction of what they would pay at private and other public colleges and universities, according to the SDCCD.

“We at the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) and at college districts throughout California are truly grateful for Senator Hill and Governor Brown for this much needed legislation that will extend opportunities for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in critical workforce areas,” said SDCCD Chancellor Constance M. Carroll.