Ohio Senate’s Budget Plan Removes Provision to Allow Community Colleges to Offer Bachelor Degrees



The lobby group that represents community colleges is surprised by the Ohio Senate’s removal of a provision in the Governor and House’s budget plans that allows those traditional two year schools to offer bachelor degrees in some areas.

In this question and answer session, Jack Hershey, the President of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges, said the provision was supported by both four and two year colleges.

“Most other states have seen a turf war between community colleges and universities," he said. "We didn’t have that in our state which is why the Senate’s removal of the language is so surprising to us.“

Q: "What kind of degrees are we talking about here? What kind of thing could you offer at the community college level that isn’t being offered at Ohio’s four year universities?”

A:“You know, we are really talking about more applied fields. So these are industries that have traditionally come to community colleges to get their workers trained, but those industries have now evolved to where they need workers with more than two years in training. Quite honestly, all of the faculty who already know those industries already work for community colleges and do not work for universities so it makes sense for us to be able to fulfill those workforce needs for employers in the state.”

Q: "Could you give me a couple of examples of majors?”

A: “Yeah, you know the incident that started this whole thing was out of Cincinnati. There was a program at the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati State Community College where we trained people to go work in the food research and development industry. There are a lot of employers in Cincinnati area that need these graduates. The community college was giving two years of instruction and then the University of Cincinnati was offering two years of science based curriculum. The University of Cincinnati got rid of the program and supported Cincinnati State continuing to offer the bachelor’s degree because they knew that businesses in the area needed graduates out of it. So that’s one example. There’s also a lot of oil and gas jobs out there that are increasingly needing more than two years in training. I think you could see cyber security, dental hygiene, oil and gas, automotive technology, forensic accounting….just to name a few.”

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