PHOENIX — A House panel voted Monday to allow community colleges to offer four-year degrees, calling them a less expensive and more accessible alternative than universities.
The 7-3 vote by the House Education Committee for House Bill 2790 came despite objections from the Arizona Board of Regents and the three state universities they govern. Those universities are currently the only publicly funded schools allowed to award baccalaureate degrees.
Regents’ lobbyist Brittney Kaufmann questioned the need for the bill, saying the universities already have partnerships with every community college to offer four-year degrees, though that can require a student to complete the program through the university, either on campus or online.
But Darcy Renfro, representing Maricopa Community Colleges, said it’s not as simple as that. She said there are some programs that students cannot get through one of these partnerships.
And then there’s the cost.