Many University Students Don’t Graduate. Why Not Give Them an Associate Degree?

Colorado is poised to enact legislation that will allow four-year institutions to offer associate degrees to students who have dropped out despite making significant progress toward a bachelor’s degree. The initiative, a switch-up on the growing number of community colleges offering four-year degrees, is part of wider efforts to support students and workers who were dealt a blow by the pandemic.

Angie Paccione, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, says the state is home to more than 700,000 people with some college but no degree. About 13,000 Coloradans who left college during the past three years would be eligible for an associate degree under the Colorado Re-engaged Initiative created by HB 21-1330, she adds. The bill has passed both houses and is awaiting signature by the governor.

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