Higher Ed: Putting a Dollar on Degrees Off to a Slow Start


College costs are the theme today. We've written before about the desired $10,000 degrees in Florida. The options appear to be limited with few takers thus far at the 23 state colleges (formerly known as community colleges). The savings for students would typically come at the end of their academic experience. The Sun-Sentinel reports:

A highly touted program to offer $10,000 college degrees is off to a slow start in South Florida.

The region's three state colleges accepted a challenge from Gov. Rick Scott in January to offer low-cost degrees this school year in fields where there is high job demand. But the degree options are limited, the eligibility requirements are often tough and the marketing efforts have been light.

Broward College opened the program up a month ago, but so far no one has signed up for any of the 80 open slots.

"We've gotten some interest. We haven't gotten any applications," said Linda Howdyshell, Broward College's provost. "We just started getting the word out.''

Palm Beach State hasn't started accepting applications yet. The college is still determining eligibility requirements and only plans to offer the $10,000 degree in one field, information management.

Both colleges have decided against offering discounts in nursing, one of the most popular high-demand degree fields.

"We only offer three bachelor's degrees, and the nursing one is extremely expensive," said Grace Truman, spokeswoman for Palm Beach State. "We felt the information management degree was the most workable."

Randy Hanna, chancellor for the state college system, said it's too early to measure the success of the program. He and a spokeswoman for Scott said they were pleased all 23 community colleges that offer bachelor's degrees agreed to designate at least one $10,000 degree.

"You have to have time to structure programs that meet the needs of students and the local workforce," Hanna said.

The $10,000 price tag is about $3,000 cheaper than the normal cost of tuition and fees for a bachelor's degree at state colleges, formerly known as community colleges. It's less than half of what four-year public universities charge.

Each college determines how to derive the $10,000 cost. Some schools, including Indian River State College, require students to take dual enrollment classes in high school to qualify.

At Broward College, students can sign up now, but they won't see any savings until their final year. Students must pay full tuition for their first three years, which totals about $10,000, and then they get their fourth year free.

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