Bill would streamline getting a college degree

Jan. 4, 2013

By Katy Grimes

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SACRAMENTO — The cost of attending California’s public universities and colleges has skyrocketed in the last 25 years.

“Whereas nationwide tuition and fees at public universities over the last five years have risen on average by 28 percent, the average increase at UC campuses is an astounding 73.1 percent and, at Cal State campuses a still more astounding 83.8 percent,” according to Real Clear Politics.

In order to chip away at the problem, Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Marysville, announced this week that he has introduced a bill to decrease the costs of college for students majoring in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math. Assembly Bill 51 would create a pilot program for certain college majors to earn Bachelor’s Degrees costing no more than $10,000, and complete college in 18 months.

AB 51 would streamline the process by which students graduate from college through better coordination with high schools, community colleges and the California State University system. Logue told me that students would have access to accredited college courses while still in high school. “This is where the savings comes in,” he said. “By the time they graduate high school, many students can already have much of the general education courses out of the way and move on to the advanced courses.”

Logue said he is very concerned about California’s young people because, according to California Community College records, 75 percent of community college students drop out. And too many young men aren’t even choosing to go to college. “They don’t see a future in most of the course work offered anymore,” Logue told me.

Program tests

The legislation selects three different parts of the state as a test for the program’s coordination.  Among the measures to be used to help students achieve a degree on time are unlimited Advanced Placement course credits in high school, more access to community college credit in high school and priority enrollment in community colleges after high school.

“This would allow a student to graduate with a B.A. Degree within 18 months and get right into the work force,” Logue said. “Jobs in STEM fields are good, high-paying jobs of which many are currently filled by candidates from overseas due to the lack of American students graduating in those fields. I hope this pilot program will provide more incentives to graduate students in those areas. This is a good, common-sense piece of legislation that I hope both Democrats and Republicans can rally around.”

Real Clear Politics also noted, “While turning away students and seeking billions for new buildings, California institutions are significantly under-using classroom and laboratory space. And, absent drastic reform, in little more than a decade the Cal State and UC systems are unlikely to be able to meet their obligations to faculty retirement programs.”

The education crisis in California has created other problems as well, including the loss of many of California’s technology and trade schools, and a shortage of students ready for jobs in the STEM fields — just what Logue’s bill would address.

“I hope my bill will be the beginning of a revolution to the very pressing issue of the costs of college that students face these days,” Logue added. “We cannot expect today’s students to have a higher standard of living than their parents if they continue to leave college saddled with so much debt.”

Although Democrats now hold a supermajority in the Assembly, as well as the Senate, Republicans still can play an important role by boosting reform ideas. For moderate Democrats concerned about the state’s low-performing schools, AB 51 could be a platform for change.

 

15 comments

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  1. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 4 January, 2013, 08:44

    A good idea that will probably be squelched or watered down like Prohibition-era liquor.

    In the end I don’t know that it matters much. I read someplace (here?) that at the end of the day, despite the talk about California’s failing K-12 schools, efforts to “maintain our technological advantage” and all that, our tech industry could really care less. Why? They recruit their top talent from the best schools across the country and around the globe. What goes on in their backyard is mostly irrelevant from a staffing standpoint.

    Now if you say: “Well gosh, Jimmy……that sounds a lot like the norm in most Third World countries!”….let me ask: What do YOU think this place is gonna look like in 30 years?

    Reply this comment
  2. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 4 January, 2013, 09:05

    Why stop at 18 months??…… lets just make it 18 weeks for that college degree. This debases the value of college. There are NO shortcuts to a quality education. Students at CSU and UC can ALREADY graduate in 3 years since they can take summer and winter session classes, like I did. A 3-5 year span tof college and the educational experience it gives is a major part of a college degree, no one should be able to cut 60% off of it.

    Reply this comment
  3. Hondo
    Hondo 4 January, 2013, 09:42

    There is no reason it should take 13 years of education to pass a GED test. Public school has become a daycare center. After 30 years of study and results to look at, pre- school has shown to be a total failure. Test scores have not changed. We need to major change for education in the state.
    The Kahn academy is free and has math and science from the tenth grade up, online. Home school the kids and take them out of those liberal designed free kill zones they call public schools.
    But the parents and the kahn academy are not union, so the public unions will oppose it.
    This idea in the article above is good, open minded thinking and deserves a chance. There fore the dems will kill it.
    Hondo……

    Reply this comment
  4. RT
    RT 4 January, 2013, 11:15

    A student pays $10,000 for a “four year degree”. Let us say that the College/University pays the instructors $45,000 a year, (for 18 months it would be $67,500) this will cause the College/University to rely on Government or other funding to afford the $57,500 costs of the instructors (not to mention all the other related costs).
    If the government of California can afford the $57,500 per student so they can get their BA/BS, why not just offer a $15,000 per student per year for students in these areas regardless what California College/University they attend ?

    Reply this comment
  5. Lisa
    Lisa 4 January, 2013, 16:08

    Yes, RT’s math is flawed, but the basic idea holds true. If it is possible for California to offer a $10,000 BA/BS, why not offer it for any “in demand” degree ? Also it this is possible, why do the “public” Colleges and Universities cost so much now ?

    Reply this comment
  6. This government solution doesn't excite me
    This government solution doesn't excite me 5 January, 2013, 13:38

    If there was genuine student demand for this kind of education, wouldn’t the free market be providing it? I don’t want to offend, but California’s community college system seems to be a pit stop for many young people who enjoy good times with their hometown peers and are seeking their own identities and purposes as ordinary people in a world beyond their control. (California’s community colleges are also a jobs program for socialist teachers, staff, and administrators, who very much have defined identities and purposes.)

    Young Americans who are strongly interested and talented in math or science have much better options for college education – they’ll even get special admissions consideration and scholarships at many of the country’s elite colleges.

    Reply this comment
  7. Ryan
    Ryan 6 January, 2013, 13:36

    One of the reasons higher education costs have skyrocketed is because we allow employers to discriminate against people without college degrees, even when the job doesn’t relate specifically to a TYPE of degree or we allow people with relevant experience to be excluded simply because they don’t have a degree.

    I strongly encourage the State of California to end this job bias and unleash fairness. As education is disrupted and transformed by online education, our definition of a college degree is also going to change and replaced by lifelong learning.

    Please also sign and share the White House petition to #EndBias:

    http://wh.gov/PlCj

    or Twitter @endbias

    or Facebook http://www.facebook.com/endbias

    It would be AWESOME if California took the lead in civil rights and fairness for the 21st Century.

    Reply this comment
  8. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 6 January, 2013, 22:59

    This government solution doesn’t excite me, CC’s are one of CA’s greatest investments, you are simply unaware if you think what you wrote is true.

    Reply this comment
  9. scoutmom
    scoutmom 7 January, 2013, 12:27

    As a single parent of a 6th grader in middle school, I would love for this to be approved before she reaches high school! My daughter has already skipped a grade and in advanced/GATE classes. She is on track for AP levels in every subject. But, her plan for college isn’t a whole lot different than what is being proposed.

    The only change we need would be to allow her unlimited credits from HS to be counted towards a degree. The AP credits, coupled with a couple of summer school classes in her junior and senior year of HS will come close to satisfying her needs for general ed at most schools she is looking to attend.

    From there, she needs about 2 years at the college she wants a for her bachelor’s. She intends to do microbiology before going on to her master’s.

    So, really all we need is the ability to count the work that she has done towards the degree she wants. It would sure help out to get a head start on those, and get them done cheaply. She’s talking doctorate these days!!! $$$$$$$$$$

    I do not see this as the dumbing down of the value of a college degree, rather rewarding the efforts of those kids who are driven to excel and achieve ahead of schedule. Those who have the ability to work above their age range should be able to do so and be able to receive credit for it.

    And for those of you who might criticize me for pushing too hard – I made her take art this year so she has some time to chill out! 🙂

    Thank you for listening to my humble opinion.

    Reply this comment
  10. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 7 January, 2013, 14:33

    scoutmom says:

    The only change we need would be to allow her unlimited credits from HS to be counted towards a degree
    ==
    HS is NOT college.

    Reply this comment
  11. John Galt
    John Galt 8 January, 2013, 08:08

    The Washington State legislature began the Running Start program in 1990 to allow public high school students to obtain an associate of arts degere simultaneiously by the time they complete high school. It seems to be working well as an alternative education path. See: http://www.k12.wa.us/SecondaryEducation/CareerCollegeReadiness/RunningStart.aspx

    Reply this comment
  12. John Galt
    John Galt 8 January, 2013, 08:11

    Washington State has been doing this for 22 years. See the details here: http://www.k12.wa.us/SecondaryEducation/CareerCollegeReadiness/RunningStart.aspx

    Reply this comment
  13. scoutmom
    scoutmom 14 January, 2013, 14:10

    AP level classes in High School are designed to meet college level educational guidelines. I just want all of her AP credits to be counted.

    Reply this comment

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