House Bill 3348 Boosts Growth of Local Community Colleges

The signing of House Bill 3348 during the 87th Texas Legislature allows local community colleges, such as the College of the Mainland, to offer up to five bachelor’s programs with their two-year offerings.

COM is one of several local higher education institutions considering expanding their programming. Officials from San Jacinto College and Alvin Community College said they are assessing the colleges’ workforce needs and strategic plans to determine how they will move forward in the future.

four-year degree offers.

“We believe HB 3348 has given us the opportunity to offer bachelor’s degrees in the future,” said John Tompkins, communications coordinator at Alvin Community College.

The first baccalaureate offered by COM will be in nursing. The first 20 students in the cohort will begin this fall, and the second cohort will be admitted, provisionally, in the fall semester 2022, according to the online course catalog.

“We are a responsive college,” said Jerry Fliger, vice president of COM instruction. “All of our programs respond directly to the workforce needs of our community. “

COM leadership and local lawmakers talked about program extensions on July 1 inside the new science, technology, engineering, arts and math building, which was unveiled on April 30. State Senator Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, called the HB 3,348 students today, “adding that community colleges will lead the state to post-pandemic economic recovery at a cost effective.

Bills such as HB 3348 help colleges come up with stronger offerings and push for equal opportunity in post-secondary education, said State Representative Mayes Middleton R-Wallisville.

“It’s these types of bills that, in my opinion, build a better future for Texas,” said Middleton, who was a sponsor of the bill.

COM offers the third lowest tuition fees in the state for community colleges, President Warren Nichols said at the press conference. Key policymakers review labor market data annually to ensure that program offerings enable graduates to enter the workforce with skills that will be in demand over the next five to ten years, the researchers said. college leaders.

Community college workforce development programs help ensure the next generation of learners stay in the Bay Area, said lawmakers and college leaders. Obtaining a four-year degree from a private university outside of the greater Houston area can lead to the accumulation of large student debt, making higher education inaccessible to some people.

COM can’t offer another licensing program until at least six months after the first one starts, Fliger said. The college is working with its business and industrial partners to develop plans for the remaining four bachelor’s programs.

“We welcome and encourage conversations with our sister universities to enable us to empower our students, whatever their professional aspirations, to come here. [to COM] to continue this education, ”Nichols said.