Baccalaureate Degree-Granting Authority
at Illinois Community Colleges


In January 2015, the Illinois Council of Community College Presidents approved a recommendation to allow the state's community college system to grant baccalaureate degrees in nursing and applied career areas. Links to the Council's news release and white paper are listed below.

Illinois Community College Trustees Association president William Kelley assigned this matter to ICCTA's special Baccalaureate Degree Study Committee for review. The committee is chaired by College of Lake County trustee Richard Anderson and comprised of the ICCTA officers, ICCTA's Government Relations and Public Policy Committee chair, and three volunteer trustees.

The Baccalaureate Degree Study Committee met on February 6, 2015 to discuss the rules and procedures that will be used as community college trustees review the Presidents Council's proposals. Based upon the committee's recommendations, the ICCTA Board of Representatives unanimously passed a motion on February 6 to require a 2/3 affirmative vote of all ICCTA voting representatives (or 27 of 41 possible votes) for endorsement of the Presidents Council's recommendations on applied baccalaureate degrees.

On March 13, 2015, the Trustees Association sponsored an educational seminar featuring national experts Dr. Debra Bragg of the Office of Community College Research and Leadership, Dr. Judith Bilsky of Florida State College at Jacksonville, and Dr. Malcolm Grothe of Seattle Colleges in Washington. Their Powerpoint presentations are listed below.

Following the seminar, the ICCTA Baccalaureate Degree Study Committee brought the Presidents Council's recommendations for full discussion and vetting to the March 13 ICCTA Government Relations and Public Policy Committee meeting in Naperville. The Government Relations Committee adopted the following motion, which was subsequently adopted by the ICCTA Board of Representatives on March 14, 2015:

The Illinois Community College Trustees Association's Government Relations Committee moves to direct ICCTA to invite all appropriate stakeholders in an examination of the option of Illinois community colleges to award baccalaureate degrees in nursing, allied health, and applied technologies. The work should include relevant data with input from all segments of higher education. The work shall produce a report to be presented to ICCTA by November 1, 2015.

At the request of ICCTA, the Illinois Community College Board agreed to research and gather data for the report on the impact of baccalaureate degree-granting authority for Illinois community colleges. However, the lack of state funding has hampered ICCB's ability to contract and pay for researchers.

In March 2016, Senate Bill 2243 was amended to allow Illinois community colleges to offer a bachelor of science degree in nursing, subject to program approval by the Illinois Community College Board and the Illinois Board of Higher Education. No action was taken on the bill during the spring 2016 legislative session.

In September 2016, the issue of BSN degrees at Illinois community colleges re-emerged. After review, the ICCTA Baccalaureate Degree Study Committee was charged with four tasks:

1. Update ICCTA's fact sheet Baccalaureate Degrees at Illinois Community Colleges with specific data documenting the need for community colleges to offer BSN degrees;

2. Reach out to two-year institutions who may oppose allowing community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees in nursing;

3. Inform State Sen. Andy Manar and other interested legislators that ICCTA is open to involvement in the proposed fall 2016 subject matter hearings on this issue; and

4. Prepare an update on the committee's activities for ICCTA's November 2016 meeting.

On November 11, 2016, the the ICCTA Baccalaureate Degree Study Committee issued its report entitled "The Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Illinois Community Colleges." Based upon the committee's recommendations, the ICCTA Board of Representatives adopted the following motion:

The ICCTA Board of Representatives endorses and supports the Illinois Council of Community College Presidents in the pursuit of the option of Illinois community colleges conveying the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

In February 2017, Sen. Manar introduced Senate Bill 888, which would allow up to 20 community colleges to offer the bachelor of science in nursing degree until 2022. SB 888 passed the Senate Higher Education Committee on a 7-6 vote on March 15.

Resources on Baccalaureate-Degree Granting Authority at Illinois Community Colleges

  • January 2015 President Council white paper on applied baccalaureate degrees
  • January 2015 Presidents Council news release
  • March 2015 ICCTA fact sheet on baccalaureate degrees and community colleges
  • March 13, 2015 seminar on baccalaureate degree-granting authority
         -- Applied Baccalureate Degrees in Illinois Community Colleges?
             (Dr. Debra Bragg)
         -- Baccalaureate Degrees in the Florida College System (Dr. Judith Bilsky)
         -- Washington State BAS Degrees (Dr. Malcolm Grothe)
  • November 2016 ICCTA report on BSN degrees at Illinois community colleges
  • Senate Bill 888
  • Illinois Council of Community College Presidents position paper in support of the
         Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree
  • Illinois Community College Board position paper in support of the Bachelor of
         Science in nursing degree

    For additional information, please contact ICCTA at 1-800-454-2282.



  • Illinois Community College Trustees Association
    401 E. Capitol Ave., Suite 200
    Springfield, IL 62701-1711
    217-528-2858 (phone)
    217-528-8662 (fax)
    ICCTA@communitycolleges.org (e-mail)
    http://www.communitycolleges.org


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