Community colleges in Michigan may soon offer some four-year degree programs. The bachelor's degrees would only be offered for four programs: maritime studies, concrete technology, culinary arts and nursing.
In Traverse City, Northwestern Michigan College works with several Michigan universities to offer bachelor's degree programs.
But Democratic state Representative Joel Sheltrown of West Branch says allowing community colleges to issue these bachelor's degrees - especially nursing - is important in many other parts of northern Michigan.
"My issue is the geographical problems we have in northern Michigan - how far you have to drive for a four-year degree, for completion of your degree," he says.
The House has approved a measure to offer the degrees at community colleges, and received a lot of push-back from the state's four-year public universities. They say offering bachelor's degrees at other schools could hurt their programs by creating too much competition.
"These programs tend to expand. The question is, would the Legislature vote for a 16th public university? The answer is 'probably not.' Well they just voted for 28," says Mike Boulus, with the Presidents Council-State Universities of Michigan.