Colorado Mountain College is just steps away from being allowed to offer bachelor's degrees to mountain-community students. The state House of Representatives OK'd state Sen. Dan Gibbs' CMC bill on second reading Thursday. A third approval is needed to send the bill to Gov. Bill Ritter for a signature.
As of now, CMC only provides two-year associate's degrees, and Gibbs along with CMC officials has said Colorado's mountain region is underserved regarding higher education. CMC's service spans a 12,000-square-mile radius with seven campuses spread throughout the region.
"This is one step closer to providing enhanced higher education opportunities for those who live in the High Country," Gibbs said.
The House will likely vote again Monday for a third and final reading. If it's passed next week without any House amendments, the governor's signature will be the final step to send it on to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education and the North Central Association of the Higher Learning Commission for other necessary approvals. CMC would then be on track to offer up to five four-year bachelor's degrees by summer 2011.
"I'm hoping for a bill signing in Summit County," Gibbs said, noting that he'd like it to happen at the Breckenridge CMC campus. "I'm pretty optimistic about it."
The CMC bill was already passed by the state Senate in March.
Both Gibbs and state Rep. Christine Scanlan (D-Summit) say the CMC bill won't have a fiscal impact to the state or locally. The plan to offer bachelor's degrees supposedly doesn't require any additional funding from either the state or the local communities where CMC operates. CMC officials say any needed increases will be covered by the additional tuition CMC officials expect with new people enrolling in the programs.
Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.