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Community Colleges Move Closer To Offering 4-Year Degrees

SANTA MONICA ( — Several Southland community colleges were among those recommended Tuesday for a pilot program that would allow them to offer 4-year degrees.

The chancellor of California's community college system is recommending 15 colleges statewide be authorized to offer bachelor's degrees in various fields:

-- Antelope Valley College, Airframe manufacturing technology

-- Bakersfield College, Industrial Automation

-- Crafton Hills College, Emergency Services and Allied Health Systems

-- Cypress College, Mortuary Science

-- Feather River College, Equine Industry

-- Foothill College, Dental Hygiene

-- West Los Angeles College, Dental Hygiene

-- Mira Costa College, Bio-manufacturing,

-- Modesto Junior College, Respiratory Care

-- Skyline College, Respiratory Care

-- Rio Hondo College, Automotive Technology

-- Mesa College, Health Information Management

-- Santa Ana College, Occupational Studies

-- Santa Monica College, Interaction Design

-- Shasta College, Health Information Management

Community colleges in the state currently offer 2-year degrees.

The degrees are not currently offered by the University of California or California State University systems, according to the Associated Press.

In all, 36 districts - half of all districts in the California Community Colleges system - submitted letters of intent to the state Chancellor's Office indicating their desire to host a baccalaureate degree program after Gov. Jerry Brown signed the legislation last fall.

Despite the financial benefits of pursuing a degree from community college - which is frequently far less expensive than a traditional four-year school - some students at Santa Monica College were skeptical of the proposal.

"It's a big risk because I don't know how people are going to react getting a community college stamp on their degree, there's a like a social type of thing there," said one student. "But I think if it's cheaper, a lot of people are gonna go for it."

The Board of Governor's is being asked to give initial approval to the 15 schools Harris recommended. The selected programs will then undergo further review before a final vote scheduled for March.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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