California Bill Raises Hopes for 4-Year Nursing Programs at 2-Year Colleges

Inside Higher Ed

Sara Weissman
February 9, 2024
A new state Senate bill would permit community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing.
California community colleges could begin offering bachelor’s degree programs in nursing under a new pilot program proposed in a recent state Senate bill.
Community college leaders are celebrating the bill as a way to expand access to more affordable bachelor of science in nursing (B.S.N.) programs and fill critical nursing shortages in the state. California State University officials, however, have expressed concerns that new programs will cause undue competition.
Senate Bill 895, authored by state senator Richard D. Roth, would allow the chancellor of the community college system to choose up to 15 community college districts that already provide nursing associate degrees to offer B.S.N. programs. These new programs would be limited in size at up to a quarter of colleges’ nursing associate degree enrollments or 35 students, whichever is greater.
“The healthcare staffing crisis is a major area of need for California’s workforce and a priority for the California Community Colleges,” Sonya Christian, chancellor of the California Community College system, said in a celebratory press release from the Community College League of California. “We look forward to collaborating with the Governor and Legislature, our labor and industry partners, educators, and our colleges on this critical issue.”