May 5, 2004
KAPLAN ENDORSES ICCB OPPOSITION TO 4-YEAR COMMUNITY COLLEGE DEGREES
SPRINGFIELD - James L. Kaplan, Chairman of the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), said today that he opposes efforts to give community colleges authority to grant bachelor's degrees. He supported the position announced earlier by Guy Alongi, Chairman of the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), discouraging community colleges from remaking themselves as four-year, baccalaureate institutions.
"The Illinois higher education system, renowned as one of the best in the nation, is an effective blend of two-year and four-year colleges and universities that has served the state and its citizens well," Kaplan said. "There is no reason to believe we can improve on the model we have by changing the mission of community colleges."
According to the ICCB, a few Illinois community colleges have expressed interest in pursuing authority to grant baccalaureate degrees, a move that Alongi said would require additional resources that could go to other, vital functions of the colleges.
Kaplan agreed. "This is certainly not a time to be exploring new roles for community colleges when dollars are so scarce for higher education," he said. "Adding bachelor's degrees to community colleges would drain resources from and dilute the focus on existing functions that the colleges have traditionally done well."
Alongi noted that the ICCB has embraced policies that promote agreements between community colleges and four-year, baccalaureate institutions for degree-completion programs serving place-bound students. And the Board of Higher Education has approved several such arrangements between community colleges and public and private four-year institutions.