As part of the College Affordability and Accessibility legislative package, California Governor Gavin Newsom signs AB 927 into law making MiraCosta College’s four-year degree program in biomanufacturing permanent.
California Assembly Bill (AB) 927, introduced during the 2021 legislative cycle, calls for making the current 15 community college baccalaureate degree programs permanent, with the removal of the 2026 sunset date. The bill would also authorize an expansion of the program to authorize additional districts and colleges to apply to the State Chancellor’s Office of the California Community Colleges for approval of these unique, workforce oriented baccalaureate degree programs. The bill upholds the prohibition on the duplication of programs at both the University of California and the California State University; the baccalaureate degree offerings at California Community Colleges are to train in the unmet, high-demand workforce fields.
Introduced by Assemblymember, and Chair of the Committee on Higher Education, Jose Medina (Riverside), AB 927 mirrors Senate Bill (SB 874), which was introduced last year by now termed-out state Senator Jerry Hill (San Mateo), but was set aside when the lawmakers were forced to focus solely on matters pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting budget crisis.
“Community colleges are able to provide high-quality and accessible, local programs at the baccalaureate level, at an affordable cost for all four years. This is why, in 2014, MiraCosta College Board of Trustees supported Governor-signed SB 580, which created a pilot project in California for 15 colleges, including MiraCosta College, to offer a bachelor’s degree in serving a highly diverse student population and delivering on the promise of creating access to four-year degrees for the state’s residents,” explained MiraCosta College Superintendent/President Dr. Sunita “Sunny” Cooke.
MiraCosta College is one of 15 community colleges in California taking part in a pilot program that offers bachelor's degrees to help students get jobs in high demand fields. In fall 2017 MiraCosta College welcomed its first cohort of junior-year students to the college’s bachelor’s program in biomanufacturing. The program prepares students to work in biological production, the unique segment of biotechnology where science thrives in partnership with quality and compliance. While existing biotechnology degree programs in California focus on research and the early stages of product development, MiraCosta College’s biomanufacturing degree focuses on the process involved in the later stages of biotech development and production.
“Biomanufacturing is a critical need in our industry, so congratulations to the MiraCosta College leadership team for their foresight in introducing a tremendously affordable program for students,” explains Joseph Panetta, president and chief executive officer of Biocom. “The life science industry employs nearly 50,000 people and generates $34 billion in annual economic activity in San Diego County alone. Having a homegrown workforce is essential to the future growth of this high-wage sector, so we look forward to providing our support to the faculty and students in the program.”
With an estimated total cost of about $10,000 for the four-year degree, MiraCosta College’s biomanufacturing program lifts the burden of expensive tuition costs and makes college more accessible to students.
Since inception, between four cohorts, the program celebrates:
•98% retention and completion rate
•Serves a racially diverse student population
o 38% Latinx
o 11% Asian
o 11% Two or more races
•68.4% of students are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds
•26% First Generation
•14% Veteran or military dependent