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Allan Hancock College Board of Trustees pass resolution in support of four-year baccalaureate degree program

On October 5, 2023, Allan Hancock College and Cuesta College unveiled their initiatives to bring two new bachelor's degrees to their respective colleges. Support for the effort continues to grow.
Allan Hancock College
On October 5, 2023, Allan Hancock College and Cuesta College unveiled their initiatives to bring two new bachelor's degrees to their respective colleges. Support for the effort continues to grow.

SANTA MARIA, Calif. – The Allan Hancock College Board of Trustees passed a resolution in support of an effort to to install a four-year baccalaureate degree program at the college.

The college provided the following information:

The Allan Hancock College Board of Trustees voiced their support for the college’s ongoing efforts to offer four-year degrees under the state’s Community College baccalaureate program. The trustees unanimously passed a resolution in favor of the district’s application to create a four-year degree in applied professional studies at their Dec. 19 regular meeting.

“This degree program would expand educational access and opportunity for our students and meet regional workforce needs,” said AHC Board President Greg Pensa. “This is exactly what we mean when we talk about changing the odds for our students.”

Hancock is proposing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Applied Professional Studies. The applied career technical education program would provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to compete and succeed in the evolving job market. While there is an undersupply of workers in occupations aligned with applied professional studies, a baccalaureate degree is typically required to enter those careers.

“Many of our students face economic challenges and cannot afford to relocate out of the area to earn a baccalaureate degree. Many are also place-bound due to family or work commitments,” said Hancock Superintendent/President Kevin G. Walthers. “Creating a sustainable baccalaureate program at Hancock will open the door for these students to improve their lives and our community.”

In October, Hancock partnered with Cuesta College to launch UnitED Central Coast, a campaign to raise awareness and support for both college’s efforts to offer baccalaureate degree programs on the Central Coast. Since the start of the campaign, many Central Coast cities, counties, school boards, nonprofits, businesses, and elected officials have passed similar resolutions or signed letters of support for bringing baccalaureate programs to the two community colleges.

As of Dec. 20, Allan Hancock College has received 44 supportive proclamations and letters. Organizations standing with the college include the Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County boards of supervisors, as well as the cities of Santa Maria, Buellton, Solvang, and Pismo Beach. The Santa Maria Bonita School District, Santa Maria Joint-Union High School District, the Santa Barbara County Office of Education, and 37th District State Assemblyman Gregg Hart also have come out in formal support of bringing bachelor's degrees to Hancock.

“Allan Hancock College’s visionary program will empower community members to pursue higher education without having to leave the Santa Maria region, symbolizing a commitment to both education and the well-being of the community,” Hart wrote in a formal letter of support to the California Community College’s Chancellor’s Office.

As support for the program continues to grow, Hancock is preparing to apply for its degree program to the Chancellor’s Office in January of 2024. The process is not quick, and approval may not come until late 2024, meaning that the absolute earliest the program could start if approved would be fall 2025.

To learn more about UnitED Central Coast and how to support Hancock and Cuesta’s efforts to expand education on the Central Coast, visit   

Article Topic Follows: Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County
allan hancock college

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