There comes a certain time for many BCC students that the resources available here seem to have been used to a point of diminishing returns.
For the portion of the student body that use BCC as a stepping stone in their journey toward educational landmarks, there will come a point when a choice must be made to venture onward. So, up and out to a four-year institution that offers a bachelors degree, something to frame and point to as the crown of one’s learning experience. T
he transferring process can be a long and difficult one. It may also be a step that will be eliminated for some students at BCC.
On May 6 Jean Floten, BCC President, announced that BCC has begun the process to acquire accreditation status as a baccalaureate institution.
This may sound familiar to some as BCC is now offering a bachelor degree in Applied Science in Imaging and Radiation Sciences. Currently there are 39 students enrolled in the program.
It is actually due to this program that the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), BCC’s accrediting association, has required the process.
When BCC began to offer the bachelor degree within the science program it decided to relinquish its’ accreditation as a community college. Becoming a baccalaureate college was the natural next next step.
“Accreditation as a four-year institution is a major step in the history of the college and will be the beginning of what I hope will be many four-year degrees to be awarded by Bellevue Community College,” said Floten.
Though the ball is now rolling and officials are considering dropping the word “community” from the BCC title and becoming Bellevue College, this does not mean, however, that any current or prospective students will be left behind.
BCC will adhere to its open admission policy and continue to report to the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges. “BCC’s efforts of becoming a baccalaureate institution will allow more students to achieve their educational goals through BCC’s wonderful programs.I believe this will challenge our college to ensure we constantly encompass the values and beliefs of a community college, while offering new and innovative baccalaureate degrees,” said ASG President Jacob Peltier.
Currently BCC charges $962.00 for lower level courses (299 and below) and $1,556.50 for upper level (300 and above), based on a 15-credit schedule.
Tuition and state reimbursement will continue as is for all two-year programs. Conversely, all baccalaureate tuition will be on level with other regional institutions such as Western and Central. This does mean a price hike for those looking to earn a bachelor degree while at BCC. Western Washington University charges $4,356.00 for a full course load.
Accreditation is a three-step process so if and when BCC does fulfill all criteria, then the institution and all enrolled students will have access to federal funds to support teaching, research and student financial aid.
First, BCC must self-evaluate the entire institution to assure that the standards of the NWCCU are being met.
Then, a third-party team of officials will validate the evaluation and, if passing, will recommend accreditation.
Finally, the NWCCU would take a comprehensive look at the entire college and either accept or deny BCC’s bid for baccalaureate accreditation.
BCC officials will be working on the self-evaluation through October 2009, just four months after graduating its’ first four-year degree students.
This change in accreditation can only enhance the already quality education that BCC provides to residents of Washington state. Currently, BCC stands in a no-man’s land as it has lost its’ community college status and is awaiting the baccalaureate evaluation.
BCC will become a hybrid of types as it will still offer the gamut of lower level courses while acquiring many new programs that will see students on through to graduation.