Community college students may soon be able to get a bachelor's degree without transferring to a four-year college or university - without even transferring for a degree through a college university center program.
A bill before a state Senate panel would allow community colleges in Michigan to offer baccalaureate degrees in nursing, culinary arts, maritime studies, cement technology, and energy production technology.
"You look across the state, we have students who are unable to pursue a degree in the areas I identified," says state Representative John Walsh, who sponsored the measure. "If you want a degree in concrete technology you have to leave the state and pick one of the six universities that offers it. We're not talking about huge programs here."
Representatives of public universities say the bill would cause unnecessary competition between community colleges and universities, and would hurt their working relationships.
"It's the collaboration that's at risk if this bill passes, because you're going to be putting, you're putting us in the possibility of unfair competition, given your ability to raise property tax. And I see a lot of this collaboration going away," says Mike Boulus, with the presidents' council, which represents the state's public universities. He told lawmakers community colleges and universities already work together to offer four-year degrees.