CMC will seek state’s OK to offer 4-year degrees

A two-year college serving Colorado’s central mountain region plans to seek approval to begin offering a limited number of four-year degrees.

The Colorado Mountain College board of trustees voted Monday to pursue the idea. The college plans to ask the Colorado Legislature to let it offer selected bachelor’s degrees under the college’s existing name and governance structure.

“This would allow the residents living in our 12,000-square-mile service area to have access to an affordable alternative in higher education, without having to leave home,” CMC president Stan Jensen said in a news release.

CMC, which is based in Glenwood Springs, has seven campuses in a region that extends from Rifle east to Dillon and Breckenridge, south to Buena Vista and north to Steamboat Springs.

Legislative approval of the four-year degree concept would be followed by community surveys to determine what degrees would serve the greatest local needs. Previous research suggests programs could include teacher education, nursing, health services administration, business, hospitality management, resort management and environmental studies.

“Rather than competing with other colleges and reducing their slice of the pie, we want to create a larger pie,” explained Jensen. “We want to create a path to higher education for people who otherwise couldn’t pursue that path.”

CMC already works with several other institutions to offer access to bachelor’s degrees with a combination of classroom and online learning. The college also hopes to continue expanding agreements it has with four-year institutions to enable students earning associate degrees at CMC to transfer directly into bachelor’s programs elsewhere.

“But not everyone can leave home to go to college,” Jensen said. “And there are no entirely face-to-face degrees available within our service area, which is the size of the state of Maryland.”


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