Mary Karen Solomon: Good news from CNCC

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If you were busy on Feb. 27, you might not have noticed this momentous news: Gov. John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 14-004, making it possible for two-year community colleges (like CNCC!) to offer bachelor’s degrees in technical and career fields.

The press release of the occasion stated, “Today, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed legislation authorizing community colleges to offer four year degrees in career and technical fields. Twenty-one other states now offer four-year degrees at community colleges similar to the degrees in this legislation.

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Mary Karen Solomon

“The legislation, Senate Bill 14-004, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Todd, Rep. Jim Wilson and Rep. Jenise May, authorizes community colleges to offer four-year bachelor of applied science degrees (BAS). This type of degree covers a wide array of fields, including dental hygiene, culinary arts, and water quality management.”

It also could include nursing, business and other vocational degrees. We are hoping that it will provide more opportunity for CNCC to better meet the needs of our community.

With community colleges offering Bachelors of Applied Science degrees, obtaining a bachelor’s degree becomes much more convenient for rural students, not to mention much cheaper, making this bill doubly good news for us. Educational opportunities will be increased for those students that can’t leave rural communities because of family needs or work pressure.

CNCC already can offer your family many benefits. If you have (or are) high school students, for no extra price (as long as they complete the course satisfactorily), your classes can give you college credit as well as high school credit. Several concurrent (high school plus college credit) courses are offered on the Moffat County High School campus, and more are available at CNCC. Quite a few focused and high-achieving students from Moffat County have completed their Associate of Arts college degree before graduating from high school. This always gladdens my heart. Those students are wonderful to have in class, but I am even happier for their parents. They save considerable money as well as precious time by completing their first two college years while still in high school. Also, such students have a head start and increased momentum toward fulfilling their educational dreams.

I have experienced this phenomenon personally, as well. My elder daughter did well in high school and won a scholarship to a four-year university. The first year at the university, none of her classes had fewer than 600 students, plus she developed a math phobia from the testing center and lost confidence. And this was at a quality, caring university! The problem is that a student, especially one from a small high school, can get lost within the huge enrollments of all those required general education courses that must be completed before the student can begin working on his or her major subjects.

My younger daughter began to work on her associate’s degree at CNCC while still in high school and then remained at CNCC one more semester to complete her associate’s degree and transfer to the same university her sister attended. The small classes boosted her confidence, while interacting with her instructors and getting to know them personally sharpened her interest and skills (we do have very fine faculty at CNCC; everyone is well-qualified, caring and extremely well-rounded in their expertise). And to top it all off, it saved me two years of university tuition and living expenses.

We will be having a meeting the evening of April 17, an open house from 5 to 7 p.m., for high school students and their parents. Please plan to come and find out how CNCC can save you money and get you or your family on the fast track to success.

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