Students Who Left College During COVID Can Still Earn Associate’s Degree
Thursday, July 15, 2021
DENVER - A new Colorado law will offer a pathway for thousands of students who have completed significant course work at public colleges and universities to receive an associate's degree.
Chris Rasmussen, senior director of academic pathways and innovation at the Colorado Department of Higher Education, said many students have spent a lot of time and, in many cases thousands of dollars in pursuit of a four-year degree.
But due to a host of factors - changes in family circumstances, relocation or medical reasons - they had to withdraw from school.
"And it's a way to at least provide some recognition of the time that they've spent, the learning that they've accumulated," said Rasmussen, "and to provide a recognition of that that has some value in the marketplace."
Roughly 13,000 students who left college in the past three years are projected to be eligible to get an associate's degree under House Bill 1330, recently signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis.
Critics of the measure say employers won't be interested in hiring people who stopped after their sophomore year, and argue students who complete degrees through community college transfer programs are better prepared to enter the workforce.
Rasmussen acknowledged that an associate's degree would have more value if a student returns to complete a bachelor's degree. But he said students who get degrees through the new law will be better prepared than people without an associate's degree.
"They've completed a general education core, they've developed writing skills, oral communication skills, all the various things that are associated with general education," said Rasmussen. "And they've also done some beginning study in the major."
More than 700,000 people in Colorado have some college education, but do not have a degree to show for their work. Rasmussen said good-paying jobs in growing industries with staying power increasingly require a degree, a trend he expects to continue in the future.
"Data from our own talent pipeline report in Colorado demonstrates that over 90% of what we consider the top jobs, those that pay above a living wage, will require some form of post-secondary credential."
Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation
get more stories like this via email
RALEIGH, N.C. -- More than $1 million in COVID-19 relief grants are helping rural organizations increase their focus on locally sourced food relief…
DES MOINES, Iowa -- This fall, the Iowa Utilities Board is hosting meetings to inform the public about a proposed underground pipeline, which would …
MANDAN, N.D. -- North Dakota has had nearly 18,000 job openings in recent months, with roughly 1,000 in construction. A labor leader in the trades …
Health and Wellness
DAYTON, Ohio -- An Ohio county is taking a trauma-informed approach to its work on preventing marijuana use in teens. As marijuana policy changes …
DENVER -- As Congress considers making significant investments in the nation's child-care system, children's advocates say now is the time to make …
MONTEREY BAY, Calif. - This week, conservation groups are celebrating Sea Otter Awareness Week with online and in-person events across the state…
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Admission to any state park in Nevada is free this coming Saturday, as part of the first Nevada Public Lands Week - with a series …
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A new Redistricting Advisory Council announced last week by Gov. Tom Wolf's office will focus on reducing gerrymandering as new …