Nevada’s Community College Bill Apparently Dead According to Reports

A bill introduced by Assemblyman Ira Hansen that would have given community colleges their own governing committees and removed power from the Nevada state Board of Regents failed to pass the committee deadline in April. This was despite three former community college presidents saying Bill 331 was necessary. The separation of Nevada’s four community colleges from the university system would have given them more freedom in a state that is focused on the University of Nevada at Reno and UN Las Vegas, according to the bill’s supporters.

The Details of Assemblyman Hansen’s Bill

The bill would have created a nine-member board appointed by Nevada’s governor to oversee the state’s community colleges. Each college would have created a seven-member board of trustees, while a separate fifteen member board would have set rules governing articulation and transfer students.

The bill would have separated community colleges from the university system while protecting the ability of students attending community college to go on to four-year universities. In many other states, community colleges are a separate system from universities. While this proposal has been studied by the legislature for several decades, this bill was the first time it crystallized into actual legislation.

Why the Bill Failed

Assemblyman Hansen said the bill probably failed because it was moving too far, too fast. Four current community college presidents opposed the bill, which was the main reason it failed, and their reasons for opposing it are entirely financial. However, the Board of Regents took no official position on the bill.

By changing the governance of community colleges, community colleges would be able to fight for their own budgets instead of being given second billing to the two major universities in Nevada. The educational systems would become partners and competitors in a sense, but students would also regularly transfer between the two sets of institutions as they already do in other states.

Failure of the bill does not end the demand for transferability of credit. This issue has bipartisan support among many legislators who don’t want to alter college funding or decision-making since so many students in other states take classes at cheaper community colleges before transferring to a four-year program at a university. Assemblyman Hansen is working to save the Articulation and Transfers Board in the rejected bill and make community college credit transferable, despite the failure of his bill.

Options for Students

Community college enrollment will continue to suffer because of the lack of a guarantee that your courses will transfer to a university. You can avoid the risk of taking courses at a local community college and trying to transfer to one of Nevada’s university by earning a Rutgers Online liberal arts degree or another legitimate online university degree instead. Those earning the online master in liberal studies don’t have to drive to one of the brick and mortar schools while the degree awarded by the online MALS program is recognized by employers and professional associations.

The first attempt to reform Nevada’s community college system failed. Community colleges will continue to suffer financially as four-year universities receive the lion’s share of funding. The inability to transfer most community college credits leads to many students being unable to take courses at cheaper community colleges before moving on to university, though Nevada’s legislature will likely revisit this issue in the future.

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