Vail Valley college may offer bachelor’s degrees |

Vail Valley college may offer bachelor’s degrees

Julie Sutor
Summit County Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado –The Colorado legislature gave final approval Monday to a measure that would allow Colorado Mountain College – which has a campus in the Vail Valley – to offer bachelor’s degrees. The proposal is now headed to the governor’s desk.

Currently, the college offers two-year associate’s degrees. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Dan Gibbs (D-Summit County), would permit the college to offer as many as five baccalaureate degrees. The community college has seven campuses in mountain communities throughout northwest Colorado, including the Vail Valley campus in Edwards, Summit County, Aspen and Steamboat Springs. No other institution in the region now offers four-year degrees.

“We are so grateful for the legislators, community members and business leaders who have supported passage of this bill,” college President Stan Jensen said. “We look forward to being able to offer some tremendous opportunities to our students and our communities.”

Should the measure receive Gov. Ritter’s approval, the college would then need accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission and the blessing of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. Through the accreditation process, the college would have to demonstrate the need for the new degree programs as well as the college’s ability to administer and fund them.

In a survey asking its communities about four-year programs, respondents said they were most interested in business, teacher-education and health-care degrees. The college will move forward in the business and education arenas first, offering some preliminary upper-level classes as early as fall 2010. Full baccalaureate degree programs could be in place by the following fall.

Jensen said the expanded programming would be funded through tuition and would not require new taxpayer dollars.

The college will continue to be open-access, in the manner of a community college. Officials are working to determine whether a separate application process would be required of students seeking to enter the bachelor’s degree programs.

Jensen does not anticipate much change to tuition rates, which are set to be $49 per credit hour for fall 2010.

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