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Debate heats up in Michigan about whether or not community colleges should offer 4-year degrees

Detroit Free Press
Community colleges could offer four-year degrees in nursing, under legislation passed by the House and now headed to the Senate, where the state's 15 universities hope to block it.

Four-year degrees also could be obtained at community colleges in culinary arts and maritime and cement technology.

The proposed expansion has sparked an intense turf war between community colleges that say it would make four-year degrees more accessible, especially to older students, and four-year universities that view it as an expensive encroachment on their academic realm.

About 10 of Michigan's 28 community colleges probably would take advantage of the expansion to four-year degrees, said Mike Hansen, president of the Michigan Association of Community Colleges.

"This bill is about access and affordability," Hansen said.

But the state's 15 public universities say it would water down academic standards, especially for nursing programs. Many community colleges offer two-year nursing programs, but the universities argue that four-year programs would drive up the cost and result in inferior training.
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