Governor Doug Ducey has signed legislation enabling community colleges in Arizona to offer four-year degrees in the hope of improving the state’s workforce and assisting people from underrepresented communities in attaining a full college degree.
Today, I’m proud to sign #SB1453 to allow community colleges to offer four-year degrees, paving the way for Arizona’s current and future workforces and expanding opportunities for populations that are historically underrepresented in higher education. @PaulDBoyer @beckynutt3 1/
— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) May 4, 2021
Pursuing a bachelor’s degree at any of Arizona’s three public universities can be expensive. Graduates often dedicate many years and tens of thousands of dollars to paying off their student loan debt. This is precisely the situation that Arizona lawmakers want to address.
“Arizona is a school choice state, and today’s action is school choice for higher education. This is ‘Opportunity for All’ in action. It will allow students even more opportunities as they strengthen their education and expand their employment opportunities,” said Gov. Ducey in a statement.
Under Senate Bill 1453, community colleges can offer limited four-year degree programs only after they pass certain criteria. While the courses are narrowed, the cost is projected to be much less expensive than tuition at other universities.
ABC15 reported that average tuition for state residents at Arizona State University ranges from $9,000 to $12,000 but at Maricopa County Community College, tuition for a two-year degree is $1,020 per semester.
“Enabling community colleges in our state to offer four-year degrees will make higher education dramatically more accessible and more affordable for Arizonans…especially those in rural, low income and middle-class communities,” Representative Becky Nutt, who authored the bill, remarked.
“Community colleges equip students with much-needed skills, and expanding their degree programs will benefit adult students of all ages and strengthen Arizona’s workforce,” said Senator Paul Boyer.