Lawmakers work to limit state colleges from offering bachelors degrees

Bill could limit degrees offered by state colleges
Posted at 5:50 PM, Mar 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-22 17:50:10-04

Some lawmakers want to limit the number of bachelor's degrees state colleges offer.

SB 374 would create a new board to oversee Florida's 28 state colleges, making sure they focus on offering two-year degrees versus four.

However, staff at Pasco-Hernando State College are concerned it could limit their students in the end.

"We certainly don't want to be stifled," said Timothy Beard, President at Pasco- Hernando State College. 

He's also concerned about how the changes could impact local businesses.

"We don't want to hurt our local employers who want to come in and hire what we call work force degree recipients," he said.

The college currently offers two bachelor's degrees programs, an online degree in Nursing and another in Applied Science.

"I mean you almost have to have your bachelors to get a job that you're going to be comfortable in and also enjoy," said Lisa Brennan, who will earn her bachelors in Applied Science this May. 

She currently works at the university where she can get free child care and pays around half what she would pay at a university like USF, an hour away, to get a four-year degree.

"It would be a lot of things that could possibly prevent me from earning the degree," she said of the bill.

Brennan hopes lawmakers will consider students like herself when voting on the bill.

"We may not be the highest percentage of enrolled," she said, "but everybody needs to work to make a living and if you want to be happy and pursue your dreams, you have to have an education and it has to be affordable."