New law offers four year degrees to community college students

Students can now get degrees nursing, applied sciences and applied technology
Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 11:25 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Texas governor Greg Abbott has some good news for students who are currently enrolled or planning to sign up for classes at some Texas communities colleges this Fall.

The new law would offer students the ability to earn bachelor degrees in certain subjects. However it’s something Vernon College won’t be participating in at this time.

“The initial thought behind this whole process is to meet significant workforce needs more than just growing our curriculum or our degree offerings. So right now in our region no one has brought to us this need that they are seeing right now,” said Dr. Dusty Johnston President of Vernon College.

The new law is an expansion of a bill that was passed a few sessions ago when community colleges were limited to three degrees instead of five. Now those degrees fall under nursing, applied sciences and applied technology but adding new programs can be costly.

“You’d have to apply for that college then redo your student loans. Then reapply for all of that and then get all your paperwork transferred to this college to the other college,” said Brittany Willeford nursing student Vernon College.

Right now she pays almost $3,000 in tuition books and labs costs that may go up if the college decides to take part in four year programs.

“I think that’s why most of actually choose to go to Vernon is because it’s cheaper and it can be done a little bit faster. If you could just keep continuing at the same college it would be less hassle and I think every nursing student wants less hassle,” said Willieford.

Having less hassle and spending less money is something all students can agree on. Whether they are ready to cross the stage or just beginning their educational journey.

“The fact that one of the main reasons people don’t go to college is because of the costs. If we would have made community college four years a lot of people would be ready to jump into it because they don’t have to worry so much about student loans,” said Deshaun Peoples.

Doctor Johnston says while it’s something Vernon College is not interested in right now if there is a significant nursing shortage at Wilbarger General or United Regional they would be looking into those four year program options.

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