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Washtenaw Community College in Michigan bucks trend, says it does not plan to offer 4-year degrees

The Washtenaw Voice

Washtenaw Community College president Rose Bellanca

Although Washtenaw remains firm in its mission to work with, not compete against nearby four-year universities, many community colleges across Michigan applaud the recent passage of a law allowing them to offer four-year programs in designated fields.

“The proximity of several highly regarded baccalaureate-granting universities within our community to which WCC students transfer is a major factor in why the college is not interested in granting bachelor’s degrees,” said Washtenaw's Associate Director of Public Affairs Janet Hawkins.

Aimed at offering greater access to baccalaureate degrees in various applied sciences, Public Act 495 was put on the books during the State Legislature’s latest session, becoming effective on Dec. 28.

But school officials continue to maintain that four-year programs have no place at WCC.

“My personal opinion is that there is probably not a need for us to do that here,” said history professor and chief negotiator to WCC’s teacher union, David Fitzpatrick. “To offer a four-year degree will require a significant investment in money, space and hiring new faculty.

“We’d be investing blindly to develop programs with little evidence that there is a demand.”
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