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Can You Get a Bachelor’s Degree at Community College?

By Cece Gilmore

Cece Gilmore is a Content Writer at Scholarships360. Cece earned her undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Arizona State University. While at ASU, she was the education editor as well as a published staff reporter at Downtown Devil. Cece was also the co-host of her own radio show on Blaze Radio ASU.

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Reviewed by Caitlyn Cole

Caitlyn Cole is a college access professional with a decade of experience in non-profit program and project management for college readiness and access organizations.

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Edited by Maria Geiger

Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Updated: October 4th, 2023
Can You Get a Bachelor’s Degree at Community College?

The idea of earning a bachelor’s degree at a community college is not one many people talk about which raises the question–can you earn a bachelor’s degree at community college? The answer to this question can be found below, so keep reading! 

First, what is a bachelor’s degree? 

A bachelor’s degree is an undergraduate degree that is awarded by four-year colleges and universities. When pursuing an undergraduate degree, students major in a subject of their choice. Some key characteristics of a bachelor’s degree includes: 

  • A bachelor’s degree typically takes four or more years to complete
  • A bachelor’s degree typically equals roughly 120 credits
  • Many students pursue a bachelor’s degree right after high school, but it is not uncommon to pursue one later in life
  • Bachelor’s degrees provide graduates with more job opportunities and higher incomes over their lives

Can you earn a bachelor’s degree at community college? 

Yes, you can receive a bachelor’s degree at certain community colleges. Traditionally, community colleges have been known as two-year institutions that award associate degrees. However, there has been an increase in the number of community colleges that offer bachelor’s degrees. Currently, each individual state determines whether or not to allow community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees. 

Also see: How to transfer from community college

What states allow you to earn a bachelor’s degree at community college? 

The following states currently allow community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Keep in mind that just because a state legally allows community colleges (CCs) to offer bachelor’s degrees does not mean that they do. If you are interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree at community college, check with the Community College Baccalaureate Association. Be sure to confirm all information with your local community college as well. 

Related: Do you have to take the SAT to attend community college?

How much does it cost to get a bachelor’s degree at a community college?

The cost of earning a bachelor’s degree at a community college varies depending on the specific college and the state. Generally, tuition at public community colleges is significantly lower when compared to public or private colleges and universities. 

Community colleges charge tuition depending on where you live. In-state or (in-county in some states) students typically pay less tuition than out-of-district students. Every community college has different pricing depending upon the students address and number of credits they take. Don’t forget that there are also plenty of scholarships for community college students as well!

Is a community college bachelor’s degree the right choice for you? 

There are many pros and cons to receiving a bachelor’s degree at a community college. The factors below can help you decide if earning a bachelor’s degree from a community college is the best option for you. 

Area of study

Community colleges typically do not offer the same variety of majors as four-year universities. However, in-demand majors such as business, education, health, law enforcement, and STEM fields are commonly offered. 

Class sizes

Community college classes are typically smaller when compared to four-year universities, particularly four-year public schools. Therefore, if you are more comfortable learning in a smaller learning environment, community college may be the perfect fit for you. 

Class times

Community colleges offer classes, including in the evenings and on weekends, that allow students to have jobs or care for their families while earning their degrees. If you require greater flexibility in your schedule, community college should have viable options for you. 

Level of support needed

Some students benefit from high-support and structure. Community colleges vary in regard to the support systems they offer students. In general, community college students should be comfortable working independently. Students need to be willing to advocate for their own needs and comfortable asking for help when needed. 

Degree value

A bachelor’s degree from a community college may not or may have more value than a traditional bachelor’s degree from a four-year institution. Like most degrees, value depends on your final grade point average, the reputation of the college you graduated from, and what you chose to major in. 

Overview of receiving a bachelor’s degree at a community college

Whether this program is the best choice for you depends upon your preferences and where you live. Not all students are able to take advantage of community college bachelor’s degrees since not all states or schools offer this option. If available, this route is definitely a convenient money-saving option for the right students. 

Don’t miss: Top reasons to attend community college

Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways

  • Students can receive bachelor’s degrees from a community college in 24 states
  • How much your degree costs will depend on the state that you live in and where you live in relation to the college you’re attending, regardless though, you can count on a community college to be much more cost friendly than a traditional college
  • Be sure to take your time assessing if community college is right for you by closely examining the programs they offer, cost of attendance and how long your program will take to complete
  • Bachelor’s degrees can be a lot of work, but if it is something that you feel strongly about completing, you should feel confident knowing that it is possible 
Key Takeaways

Frequently asked questions about earning a bachelor’s degree at community college

Are bachelor degrees from a community college a good value?

Students who graduate with four-year degrees from community colleges with good grades and recommendations can go as far as they choose. Not having the burden of large student loans is a huge advantage as students start their careers and transition to adult life. 

Is earning bachelor’s degrees from community colleges a growing trend?

Community college baccalaureate degrees will continue to expand because they are better able to respond to workforce demands, especially  in STEM fields. With their lower cost and flexible class schedules, community college baccalaureate degrees are sure to grow in popularity.

Can you skip an associates degree and go straight to a bachelors degree?

Getting an associates degree is not a prerequisite to receiving your bachelor’s degree. Students who would like to go straight from high school to a bachelor’s degree are more than able to do so. Similarly, if you have already received a bachelor’s degree, you are able to later complete an associates degree as well, if it is something that will benefit you.

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