When the Arizona Legislature passed Senate Bill 1453 and House Bill 2523 to permit Arizona Community colleges to offer four-year degrees if they meet all requirements, the YC governing board immediately began reviewing such opportunities.
Yavapai College President Lisa Rhine has named a group to review the feasibility of launching four-year degree programs.
“We also will establish community need and try to identify possible degrees,” she said. “But I stress, this is the beginning of a process. It will take considerable time.”
Rhine has asked Diane Ryan, vice president of academic affairs, to head the working group. It will include key people from various college programs and departments. Rhine said that once potential degrees are identified, it will require thorough analysis and review by the governing board, by the Higher Education Learning Commission and by the Department of Education.
Yavapai College is one of only three community colleges in Arizona that increased in student enrollment this past fall. In 2020, YC enrollment had dropped to 6,009. However, this fall, it increased to 7,526, one of the highest percentage increases of any community college in Arizona.
The only other two colleges to show enrollment increases were Central Arizona College in Coolidge, which went from 4,778 in 2020 to 6,073 in 2021; and Arizona Western College in Yuma, which increased from 6,930 in 2020 to 8,368 in 2021.
Rhine said the enrollment increase seems to document the growing demand for higher education throughout Yavapai County: “We are happy to provide affordable and accessible opportunities to students, and we anticipate expanding even further the kinds and types of programs we offer.”