CMC four-year degrees get the green light |

CMC four-year degrees get the green light

Former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter signed Senate Bill 10-101 in Breckenridge on May 27, 2010. The bill allowed Colorado Mountain College to offer up to five bachelor’s degrees. Monday, April 18, CMC received final approvals from its accrediting body to offer the college's first two bachelor's degrees, starting in fall 2001. Photo Ed Kosmicki

EDWARDS, Colorado – It’s official: Colorado Mountain College will offer a pair of four-year degrees beginning this fall.

CMC President Dr. Stan Jensen announced Tuesday that the college will offer bachelors degrees in business administration and in sustainability. They’ll add four-year degrees in nursing and teacher education as soon as possible, maybe as early as 2013 for the teaching degree.

Jensen said the college is also exploring making Edwards a residential campus.

The national Higher Learning Commission gave its blessing Monday night. Jensen made the announcement Tuesday.

Community colleges in a half dozen states offer four-year degrees, Jensen said.

“There’s a growing number of community colleges doing this,” Jensen said.

Colorado Mountain College covers 12,000 square miles in nine Western Colorado counties. A bachelor’s degree was not available in any of them, Jensen said.

“I think it’s a great service to those communities,” Jensen said. “There are lots of community colleges that have a university in their back yard. We don’t. This gives our residents a place to come.”

CMC will add three faculty members for their new four-year degrees, two in business administration and one in sustainability, Jensen said. Some current faculty will teach upper level courses.

Those four-year degrees will pay their own way. They have the buildings, staff and infrastructure already in place, Jensen said.

CMC’s board of directors set the tuition at $95 an hour for in-district students, $200 an hour for in-state students and $405 an hour for out-of-state students.

Lower level courses cost $53 a credit hour for in-district students, $89 for in-state students and $279 for out-of-state students.

“Both of those sets of numbers position us as being the best value for higher education, as far as tuition costs,” Jensen said.

More than 700 students said they’d attend CMC this fall for business administration and another 400 for sustainability.

“Those are soft numbers. It’s easy to fill out a survey and say you’ll come. It’s quite another to show up and pay tuition,” Jensen said.

As for a residential campus in Edwards, Jensen said they’re running surveys and collecting data. They’re also eyeing possible residential campuses in Rifle and Breckenridge.

CMC already has residential campuses at Spring Valley near Glenwood Springs, Steamboat Springs and Leadville.

“We’re always going to serve our local students first and foremost. But they do come from all over. We have students from 46 states. Look out your window and you can see why,” Jensen said.

Over the past 18 months CMC has received approval to offer four-year degrees from its board of trustees, the Colorado state Legislature and Gov. Bill Ritter, and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, but everything was pending approval from the Higher Learning Commission.

A program to certify teachers for grades kindergarten-12th grade will have to wait until the state’s program finishes its changes, Jensen said.

The four-year nursing degree could launch in the fall of 2013, Jensen said.

Information about CMC’s four-year degrees is available on the college’s website. They expect to be able to accept applications beginning today, Jensen told the college’s board of trustees.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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