Bill supports bigger degrees

Two-year colleges may soon be able to offer a handful of bachelor’s degrees including nursing if House Bill 4496 is adopted.

According to AP reports, a proposed bill would allow 2-year community colleges to offer bachelor degree programs such as cement technology, maritime technology, nursing and energy production.

The measure was approved by the Michigan House on June 23 by a vote of 67 to 43.

Many Michigan universities including OU have shown concern over the legislation.

Oakland University has joined with 11 other schools to oppose the bill.

“We feel that the current law governing the granting of college degrees in Michigan is effective,” Rochelle Black, vice president for government relations at OU, said.

“This bill has not yet been made law and, as such, we cannot speak specifically on what its impact would be.”

Student response to the bill has varied. Saving money was one benefit to attending a community college for four years.

Alexis Stone, sophomore biochemistry major at Oakland Community College said: “It would be good — it’s going to be a lot cheaper. If you can get your degree here, then do it.”

Simon Omekanda, a graduate student of electrical engineering, isn’t second-guessing his OU education. Even if a 2-year college had offered a higher degree, he still would’ve chosen to come to Oakland.

“I still would’ve come here because it’s more prestigious to go to OU and they’re more…advanced in their programs than…OCC,” Omekanda said.

The university title is a main reason students still choose to come to OU.

Adrienne Leone, a graduate student majoring in human resources and development, stressed the importance of a school’s name and what it implies.

“I feel like they are still going to be called Macomb (Community College) or OCC or something like that. I feel like if you go to a college and you graduate from here or U of M or something, you have that university name attached,” Leone said. “Not that they’re bad schools…but I feel like you’d still have that name with your degree.”

“Even though the money would be great, I don’t know how many people would really want to say that they got their degree at a community college, unfortunately. I’d rather say I got my degree from OU than from here (OCC),” Stone said.

When it comes to the decision students make on where to attend school, Black is confident OU will continue to shine and provide quality education.

“We can say that Oakland offers a wide array of academically rigorous, highly competitive bachelor degree programs that continue to make the university a first-choice destination for a steadily growing number of college students. We have every confidence that students will continue to see the tremendous benefit of investing in an OU education,” Black said.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Education Committee. The bill will likely be reviewed this fall.