About 300 college students from San Jose boarded buses Monday and traveled to Sacramento to urge lawmakers to favor a bill allowing community colleges to offer four-year degrees, a spokesman said.
Students from San Jose-Evergreen Community College District arrived in Sacramento at about 8 a.m. to rally support for Senate Bill 850, which would permit students at two-year colleges to earn four-year degrees, district spokesman Rolando Bonilla said.
The students, who attend one of the district's two institutions, San Jose City College and Evergreen Community College, were scheduled to meet Monday with South Bay Area legislators including Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose, and state Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, Bonilla said.
The group will lobby for passage of SB 850 as part of the annual "March on March" event at the state capital by students at two-year colleges all over the state to show support for public education, Bonilla said.
SB 850, introduced in January, would set up a pilot program letting each of California's community districts set up one B.A. degree program per campus that would serve an "unmet need" in the area and not duplicate programs at nearby four-year state colleges and universities, according to Bonilla.
Each campus would consider what degree would best suit certain job skills needed in the community they serve, charge a special fee to administer the degree program and may enter into agreements with local businesses to provide educational services, Bonilla said.
The bill, co-sponsored by state Senators Marty Block, D-San Diego and Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, would benefit community college students by allowing them to obtain baccalaureate degrees at a lower cost than tuition and other expenses charged at four-year colleges, Bonilla said.