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SACS, State Approve College's Bachelor Programs

December 12, 2012 - Brevard Community College has received formal approval to start offering four-year bachelor degrees next year in a move that will enhance opportunities for students and expand the College’s mission.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or SACS, the agency that accredits public colleges and universities in Florida, approved the programs Tuesday.

The Florida State Board of Education gave its unanimous consent Wednesday, officially opening the door for BCC to launch the degrees in August 2013 and become a state college.

Initially, the College will offer a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Organizational Management with two concentrations — general management and health care management.

More bachelor degrees could be added in the future.

“This is a landmark step that allows us to begin classes next year,” said BCC President Dr. Jim Richey. “It’s the start of a new era for the College that will improve the lives of Space Coast residents for generations to come.”

BCC’s Board of Trustees got the initiative rolling in March 2012 when they voted to offer four-year degrees for the first time in the College’s 52-year history.

The groundwork was started in 2011 when trustees instructed College officials to research the feasibility of adding new degrees and programs to help jump-start workforce development in Brevard.

The four-year degrees were selected based on three items of consideration:

  • 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, with the average salary in these areas about $58,000 a year.

The four-year degrees will be highly attractive to area students for several reasons:

  • BCC tuition is lower than at four-year state and private universities.  
  • 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 this region.
  • 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.

BCC is the latest community college in Florida to start offering bachelor degrees. Some 22 other institutions in the 28-member Florida College System have already taken the step.