Success from the session: Associate degree bill a win-win
Ensuring that more college students succeed in completing post-secondary credentials and helping Colorado address its workforce-development needs and goals – those will be the twin outcomes of SB 12-45 "Higher Ed Associate Degree Transfer," which was signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday at the Auraria Campus in Denver.
The bill provides the opportunity for more students who start at two-year institutions to be awarded associate's degrees based on additional credits completed after they have transferred to four-year institutions.
Gov. John Hickenlooper signs Senate Bill 45. Reps. Rhonda Fields and Tom Massey,
sponsors of the bill, flank the governor, and Frank Waterous of the Bell is third from right.
The Bell Policy Center strongly supported the bill during the legislative process and was among the groups that participated in the signing ceremony.
SB 45 directs the Colorado Commission on Higher Education to work with the state's colleges and universities to develop a process to notify students who satisfy the eligibility requirements to receive an associate's degree.
In our testimonies before the Senate and House Education Committees, we noted that, whether a student is still in school and continuing to make progress toward a bachelor's degree or has decided for whatever reason to leave school before receiving a four-year credential, research clearly shows that having an associate's degree in hand significantly increases the student's earning potential and employment opportunities.
We also stressed that helping more students receive associate's degrees addresses our state's vital and growing need to fill "middle-skill" jobs in our workforce -- that is, well-paying, high-demand jobs that require post-secondary education and credentials beyond a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree.
The bill was one of several pieces of legislation that resulted from work over the summer and fall by the legislatively-established, bipartisan Educational Success Task Force.
We are very pleased that the "Higher Ed Associate Degree Transfer" bill has become law, and thank the governor for signing it. We also thank the bipartisan legislative sponsors – Senators Evie Hudak and Keith King and Representatives Tom Massey and Rhonda Fields – for carrying this important bill.
Article posted on April 19, 2012