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Assessing the Potential to Expand Community College Baccalaureate Programs in Texas

Assessing the Potential to Expand Community College Baccalaureate Programs in Texas

Lindsay Daugherty
Charles A. Goldman
Lindsay Butterfield
Trey Miller
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 118
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  • Book Info
    Assessing the Potential to Expand Community College Baccalaureate Programs in Texas
    Book Description:

    To inform decisions about whether community college baccalaureate degree programs should be expanded in Texas, this report assesses unmet workforce-development needs in nursing and four applied science occupations: computer and information technology, management of fire sciences, management of production/operations technicians, and health information technology.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8955-7
    Subjects: Education, Health Sciences, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[ii])
  2. Preface
    (pp. 1-2)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. 3-3)
  4. Figures
    (pp. 4-4)
  5. Tables
    (pp. 5-6)
  6. Summary
    (pp. 7-18)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 19-20)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. 21-21)
  9. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 22-23)

    From 2000 to 2010, the annual number of undergraduate degrees awarded in the United States increased nearly 40 percent, with more than 800,000 associate degrees and 1.6 million bachelor’s degrees awarded in 2009–10 (NCES, 2012a). In Texas, the annual number of undergraduate degrees awarded has increased at an even faster pace, jumping from 116,000 in 2001 to 186,000 in 2011 (THECB, 2012a). Yet there remains a need to increase educational attainment to meet the demand for baccalaureate-degreed workers (Achieve, 2012; Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, 2011; Faberman and Mazumder, 2012). Increasing human capital also can increase individual income and...

  10. 2 Background
    (pp. 24-31)

    We begin with some background on the Texas higher education system and the national landscape for community college baccalaureate programs. We first describe the roles of different types of institutions in Texas. We then discuss the role of the applied baccalaureate in Texas. Next, we discuss the national movement toward increased provision of baccalaureate programs by community colleges, and the history of community college baccalaureate programs in Texas.

    Public community colleges enroll a substantial number of college students; in fall 2010, 26 percent of all full-time college students and 64 percent of all part-time college students were enrolled in public...

  11. 3 Research Questions and Methodology
    (pp. 32-39)

    The ultimate question that the THECB must address is whether community college baccalaureate programs should be expanded to additional colleges and fields. RAND and HEPI’s role in conducting this study is to explore a range of key policy options and provide information to help the THECB weigh the options. The study team also was asked to provide input on the decisionmaking process that should be used and to assess unmet workforce needs in nursing and the applied sciences. This report presents stakeholder perspectives on community college baccalaureate programs and other information on their possible expansion, assessments of the range of...

  12. 4 Identifying Unmet Workforce Needs
    (pp. 40-61)

    To determine whether there are unmet workforce needs that could be fulfilled by expanding baccalaureate degree programs at community colleges, several questions must be considered. These questions should typically be addressed at the regional level, although the state might want to prioritize and support degree programs that supply employees to occupations with substantial unmet workforce needs statewide.

    The first question to ask is whether a baccalaureate degree will provide the level of education or training needed to meet the workforce need. The second question is whether an unmet workforce need will create a demand for baccalaureate-degreed individuals. Finally, we need...

  13. 5 Potential Benefits of Community College Baccalaureate Expansion
    (pp. 62-67)

    Texas could realize a range of potential benefits from expanding community college baccalaureate programs. These benefits include:

    helping meet workforce needs;

    increasing student access and degree attainment;

    providing greater experience with applied education; and

    providing a small, supportive environment for students.

    Although all of our community college interviewees cited the potential benefits of baccalaureate expansion, institutional leadership at only about half of the community colleges expressed a clear interest in offering their own baccalaureate programs.

    Employers generally agreed that community colleges could play an important role in meeting workforce needs and increasing student access to higher education. They also seemed...

  14. 6 Concerns About Community College Baccalaureate Expansion
    (pp. 68-77)

    Different groups of stakeholders have different concerns about community college baccalaureate programs. University stakeholders and some employers assert that university baccalaureate programs in Texas are meeting workforce needs for many applied occupations. For unmet needs, they suggest that enhanced partnerships between community colleges and universities or university expansion are preferable to community college baccalaureate expansion. State-level policymakers and others also express concerns about the implications of community college baccalaureate expansion, including accreditation issues, though these problems have not materialized elsewhere. Community college interviewees raised concerns about mission creep, the effects on relationships with universities, and insufficient resources to fund high-quality...

  15. 7 Other Provision Options, Costs, and Funding
    (pp. 78-83)

    Texas has a number of options for meeting workforce needs besides community college baccalaureates. We review these below, then present the available information on the costs of community college baccalaureate programs, the current funding arrangements for these programs, and options for future funding.

    The previous two chapters have focused on the potential to meet unmet workforce needs through community college baccalaureate expansion, but there are clearly other options, such as developing partnerships, starting or expanding university programs, and extending learning opportunities through which individuals are able to receive educational credit for learning that has occurred outside the classroom.¹¹ Each of...

  16. 8 Policy Options for Community College Baccalaureate Expansion
    (pp. 84-91)

    Texas has several policy options available as it weighs community college baccalaureate expansion. We describe six guiding principles for policy decisions, identify a range of policy options, and describe how the policies might affect the costs and benefits associated with expansion.

    Although there was substantial disagreement among stakeholders about the best path forward for Texas, some common themes emerged from our study. We distill these into six principles that the state should consider when making decisions about community college baccalaureate programs.

    Employers and institutional stakeholders placed the greatest emphasis on meeting unmet workforce needs as the primary rationale for expansion...

  17. 9 Recommendations for Process and Supporting Activities
    (pp. 92-95)

    In the course of our research, we identified a number of supporting activities that the state could pursue to address some concerns about mission creep, counterproductive competition, and threats to quality. Some of these activities can be valuable even if there is no further expansion to community college baccalaureate programs. Others will be appropriate only if expansion occurs.

    As Chapter 4 describes, there is substantial confusion about the distinction between the various types of applied baccalaureate degrees in Texas. In Washington and Florida, there is only one title for an applied baccalaureate program, the BAS, and this title is used...

  18. 10 Conclusion
    (pp. 96-97)

    The notion of community colleges offering bachelor’s degrees is no longer unusual. States are increasingly authorizing community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees, although the expansion has been uneven across the country. The states that authorize expansion often are motivated by desires to increase baccalaureate attainment among residents and to better meet workforce needs. This is especially true in applied fields, where the capacity of traditional state universities can be limited.

    In 2003, Texas joined the ranks of states exploring the expansion of community college baccalaureate programs when the state legislature authorized three community colleges—Brazosport College, Midland College, and South...

  19. Appendix. Interview Protocols and Survey
    (pp. 98-107)
  20. References
    (pp. 108-113)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 114-114)