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BCC to Begin Offering Four-Year Degrees in 2013

March 19, 2012, Brevard County, FL – For the first time in its history Brevard Community College will begin offering four-year degrees in select subjects starting in August 2013.

The BCC Board of Trustees made the decision at its March 19 meeting, ending more than a year of study that saw the College work closely with Brevard County businesses to determine how it could help meet their needs to create new jobs.

BCC becomes the 23rd college in the 28-member Florida College System to offer four-year degrees, following a state and national trend among community colleges to make affordable education more accessible to the local populations they serve.

“This is a landmark step for the College, our students and our community,” said BCC President, Dr. Jim Richey. “We’re focusing on areas of workforce growth that will help our students find good jobs upon graduation and, equally important, help local businesses grow.

“That meets a critical goal for the College and my top priority – making BCC an engine of economic growth in Brevard as the region recovers from the recession and the end of NASA’s space shuttle program. This is extremely good news for everyone.”

The college will begin offering a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Organizational Management with two concentration options – general management or a concentration in health care management – in August 2013.

More concentration options for BAS degrees in Organization Management are expected to be added in coming years.

As part of the program, all BAS graduates will have an internship with a local business in their area of interest to provide them with work experience.

In another significant step, the College will begin offering a Concurrent Nursing Program in August 2013.

It provides students a pathway to entry into the University of Central Florida’s College of Nursing after they successfully complete their first year of nursing studies at BCC.

Currently, BCC’s two-year nursing program graduates are not eligible for entry into UCF’s four-year nursing program until they receive their AS degree.

The Concurrent Nursing Program has another major plus:

BCC students can earn their Bachelor of Science Degree in nursing in three years or less rather than the four years now required, saving them time and money.

The College expects about 125 students will enroll the first year in the BAS degrees for Organizational Management, and projects the number will grow quickly.

For example, other community colleges in Florida that have started such programs have seen their enrollment rise to between 300-400 students annually within the first few years.

Before the changes are finalized, the College will be required to gain approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Florida Department of Education. Both accreditation processes are underway.

The effort that led to the Board of Trustees’ decision formally started in March 2011 when trustees instructed College officials to begin research on the feasibility of adding new degrees and programs to help jump-start workforce development in Brevard.

The new degrees were selected based on three things:

  • Areas were identified from a state list that targeted sectors where job growth was expected in Central Florida, with a specific emphasis on high-wage, high-need jobs.
  • The College surveyed a wide cross section of businesses of all sizes throughout Brevard to gauge their workforce needs. Their answers helped confirm the targets.
  • Nearly 2,000 students responded to a survey on the issue, with 92 percent saying they wanted the College to offer four-year degrees.

The business survey indicated that more than 6,100 new jobs are created annually in Central Florida, including Brevard County, in six fields that require a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Organizational Management. Among them are business operations and business supervisors.

The average salary in these areas is about $58,000 year.

The four-year degrees will be highly attractive to Brevard students for several reasons, Richey said:

  • BCC tuition is lower than at four-year state and private universities. The total cost of a 4-year BAS degree at BCC is expected to cost $12,870 compared to $22,695 at UCF and more than $131,000 at the Florida Institute of Technology.
  • The degrees will allow students to stay close to their homes and families, and make it easier for those who are working their way through college to continue their education.
  • The degrees will provide people already in the workforce with the chance to learn new skills without leaving Brevard.
  • Students will continue to benefit from the small classroom size and personalized instruction that have long been the hallmarks at BCC.

Meanwhile, BCC will continue offering its traditional two-year Associate of Arts degrees and other programs that Brevard County residents rely on.

“We are deeply committed to our roots and will strictly adhere to our core mission, “ said Richey. “We already provide students with educational opportunities in about 90 programs and we’ll continue to stay sharply focused on those areas.

“We will also continue our strong partnership with UCF, including the highly popular DirectConnect 2+2 Program, which guarantees entry into UCF for those who graduate from BCC with their Associate of Arts degree.”

Richey added BCC will look at changing its name to reflect the fact it offers four-year degrees, something other colleges in the FCS system have done when they made a similar transition.

“The issue will be carefully studied and student and community input would play a part in any decision. We would also need approval from the Legislature, possibly during next year’s session,” he said.

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Brevard Community College is committed to engaging our diverse
population in quality, affordable, accessible learning opportunities which
successfully meet individual and community needs.