TEXAS CITY, Texas (KTRK) -- Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill allowing community colleges to offer multiple bachelor's degree programs.
House Bill 3348 is now a law in Texas, which means community colleges across the state can offer up to five, four-year bachelor's degree programs.
On Thursday morning, the College of the Mainland announced its first four-year program will be for students working to get their bachelor's degree in nursing.
"This is a step forward in the College of the Mainland's history," said Dr. Jerry Fliger, the vice president of instruction at the school. "It is not a new step, it is a continuation of where we've been going for some time."
At the same event, Rep. Mayes Middleton said the rising cost of college tuition was one of the driving factors to get the bill on the governor's desk.
"(It's) giving people in our community the tools they need to achieve high-paying careers without that crushing student debt," Middleton said. "I mean, that is really the issue with four-year colleges, traditional four-year colleges, and this is the way to do that."
For students like Charles Everts, who is currently in a nursing program at the College of the Mainland, this means by 2022 he will receive his bachelor's degree in nursing and can pursue his career in the community where he was born and raised.
"It's a big relief not to have to worry about what am I going to do next?" Everts said. "How am I going to pay my bills and go to school? I can now do something that is affordable and still further my education and further myself."
Texas community colleges can now offer 4-year bachelor's degree programs
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