Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio offers four year degree

Rio Hondo got initial approval to be a part of the First California Community College’s Bachelor’s degree program on Jan. 20.

The four-year Automotive Technology Bachelor’s Degree will offer students the ability to study the management side of the business as well as technical expertise.

The courses are expected to be ready by fall of 2017 and cost students roughly $10,000, almost half of what would be expected at any other university.

The program is planned to run until 2023.

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Upper-division courses will cost $84 per unit but lower division courses will be kept at the standard $46 per unit.

The Community College Board of Governors gave approval to 15 community colleges after a thorough evaluation of geographic distribution of the pilot programs, their diversity, the schools ability to implement such a program, and the guarantee that it will meet an immediate and local demand in that field.

The purpose of the pilot program is stated in the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office press release by Chancellor Brice W. Harris.

“These colleges are embarking on a new mission for the California Community Colleges that will expand opportunities in public higher education.

Students will have a range of programs from which to choose to earn high quality, affordable and in-demand degrees.

California employers win too, as they will have improved access to highly qualified candidates in these fields.”

Furthermore, the program is expected to help students who depend on a lower cost education to get prepared for higher paying tech jobs as the fields continue to grow.

While a degree in automotive technology may be attained at a Cal State or UC for roughly $22,000, the same degree will now be available locally and at less than half the price.

The proposed programs could not be offered at any nearby California State University or University of California.

This is meant to keep all schools on an even playing ground when it comes to admissions.

“SB 850 will expand opportunities for California students by increasing affordable and accessible paths to a four-year degree while also helping veterans and other nontraditional students,” said State Senator Marty Block. “This historic and landmark change will also help keep our state a global economy—competitive and open for business.”

Block is a former community college trustee who had proposed the bill twice in previous years and signed it with Gov. Jerry Brown, on Sept. 28 of last year, making it into a law.

Rio Hondo’s automotive technology program; along with 14 others were chosen out of the 34 that had originally been submitted. Among them were airframe manufacturing technology, emergency services and allied health systems, bio-manufacturing, interaction design and respiratory care.

Although the program is intended to end after the 2022-2023 school year, the governor may renew it pending two on program reviews, the first in 2018 and the second in 2022.

In the meantime California now joins the lineup of 21 other states to offer baccalaureate degrees.

“This is exciting news,” said, Miguel Torres, who is thinking about changing his major. “If I can get an education that is less expensive than a four- year, I would be set. Times are tough. Students need some love. After all, we are the future.”

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