Beth LaBerge/2012 S.f. Examiner file photoCommunity colleges like CCSF are able to offer four-year degrees under a new program.

Beth LaBerge/2012 S.f. Examiner file photoCommunity colleges like CCSF are able to offer four-year degrees under a new program.

CCSF not among California community colleges seeking four-year degree programs

Nearly three dozen California community colleges have applied for a pilot program that would allow them to offer four-year degrees for the first time, but City College of San Francisco is not among them.

Senate Bill 850, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in late September, allows 15 community colleges throughout California to each offer four-year degrees in a subject area that does not overlap with a bachelor's degree offered at California State University or University of California schools, in addition to the standard two-year degrees.

The deadline for districts to apply was Dec. 19. Paul Feist, a spokesman for the California Community College's Chancellor's Office, said 34 applications were received for the bachelor's program. Potential fields of study include airframe manufacturing technology, biomanufacturing, respiratory therapy, dental hygiene, engineering technology and public-safety administration.

Bay Area schools that applied include Skyline College in San Bruno, as well as community colleges in Solano and Napa counties.

CCSF opted not to seek the pilot program amid a turbulent time for the college, which had its accreditation threatened in 2013 and is awaiting the outcome of a trial that could restart its evaluation process. Separately, the school is seeking to qualify for restoration status, which would give CCSF two more years to meet accrediting requirements.

“We will not be applying for the SB850 program until we complete our accreditation/restoration process,” CCSF spokesman Jeff Hamilton wrote in an email to The San Francisco Examiner.

A team including Chancellor's Office staff, CSU and UC representatives, and community college administrators, faculty and staff from districts that did not apply to host a program are reviewing the applications. The team will forward its recommendations to the chancellor, who will decide which of the applications are submitted to the board of governors for approval. The board is expected to make its decision Jan. 21.

“We're looking at applied bachelor degrees in areas … where the industry is increasingly demanding or requiring education beyond a certificate or associate's degree but that is not offered at a UC or CSU,” Feist said.

Districts that are selected to join the pilot may start their four-year degree programs as early as next fall and no later than the 2017-18 school year.

The legislation sunsets after the 2022-23 school year, but can be renewed pending two Legislative Analyst's Office reviews of the pilot program, in 2018 and 2022.

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