Colorado Community College System (CCCS) students will soon have the option to earn a four-year degree in business thanks to recent approval from the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education.
At their meeting last month, board members gave CCCS the green light to offer a fully online bachelor’s of applied science (BAS) degree that will debut this fall. Designed collaboratively among seven of CCCS’ 13 colleges, the program will leverage open educational resources to further lower costs for students.
“It’s exciting because we see this as a higher-enrollment bachelor’s degree,” said Dr. Landon Pirius, CCCS vice chancellor for academic and student affairs. “This is going to serve our students really well in terms of access and workforce preparation.”
The degree includes 45 credits of coursework in management, marketing, and other business-related fields and 15 credits in general education. As a “stackable” program, CCCS students can apply credits earned in certificates and associate degrees to accelerate their journey to a four-year credential.
“It’s a great example of the concept that we are one system powered by 13 colleges, where we’re making opportunity for all of our institutions, together.”
“Students who complete the associate of applied science degree in business do not necessarily have the smoothest transfer to a four-year university,” Dr. Pirius explained. “This provides an opportunity for our students to complete a bachelor’s degree without the loss of credits.”
Business is one of the most popular majors among CCCS students and boasts strong job growth and earnings outcomes, said Dr. Colleen Simpson, president of Front Range Community College (FRCC). Positions in business administration will expand by up to 14% and 9.7% in rural and urban areas, respectively, and offer a median wage of $26 to $38 per hour, depending on the location.
“We have seen a very strong pipeline with high enrollment in business administration at all of the respective colleges,” Dr. Simpson told board members. “This degree will be very beneficial for our adult learners because of the flexibility in the modality.”
In the coming years, CCCS administrators plan to roll out more online BAS degree programs in education, construction management, behavioral health, and cybersecurity. CCCS colleges hope to create specialties within programs, too, said Dr. Rebecca Woulfe, vice president of academic affairs and provost at FRCC.
“We’ll take this base business administration degree and add on the concentrations that will support even more of our technical areas, such as logistics or industrial technology, so that our automotive students and our welding students have the opportunity to also complete a bachelor’s degree,” she said.
Dr. Landon Mascareñaz, the chair of the state board, praised the program’s innovative model and its potential benefits for students.
“It’s a great example of the concept that we are one system powered by 13 colleges, where we’re making opportunity for all of our institutions, together,” he said.