CMC fills niche in offering BA degrees

It’s been a long time coming, but Colorado Mountain College is now able to offer bachelor’s degrees.

Colorado Mountain College, a small community college with campuses scattered across much of northern and western Colorado, has done much in recent years to meet community needs, for example working with industry to train students for the natural gas industry.

It can do more, as the state Legislature and Gov. Bill Ritter have recognized, in approving legislation aimed at boosting the ability of the college to offer more than the two-year associate degrees it now makes available to students.

As is the case with Mesa State College, Colorado Mountain College has the unenviable but necessary task of bringing higher education to a rural populace that has a low level of educational attainment. In short, northwest Colorado has relatively few people who hold bachelor’s degrees or better. As a result of that, and other factors, economic roiling such as that we’re seeing now tends to affect western Colorado more significantly and for longer periods of time.

That situation has come about for many reasons, perhaps primary among them being that it’s darned difficult and expensive for families in this region to send their children, however promising, to college.

Finally, it appears, if families can’t send their children to college, then higher education will come to them in the form of Colorado Mountain College.

We expect that we’ll see some interesting developments along the way, much as Mesa State College has seen, such as development of online education and other innovations that allow students to make better and more efficient use of their time.

Colorado Mountain College’s climb is far from complete with last week’s signing of legislation by Ritter.

Now it’s up to the college to gain accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and approvals from the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

To take those steps, the college must show that there’s a need for its offerings — a no-brainer per the above.

It also must show that it can administer the new degree programs and fund them.

The latter, of course, depends heavily on the Legislature, and its difficulties also are no secret.

We hope the next Legislature and next governor see the wisdom of making available more higher-education offerings to northern and western Colorado.


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