$10,000 Bachelor's Degree Is Proposed in California Legislation

January 03, 2013

A California state legislator is the latest elected official to push for public colleges to offer bachelor's degrees at bargain-basement prices.

Assemblyman Dan Logue, a Republican, has introduced a bill to create a pilot program for students to earn a bachelor's degree at a cost of no more than $10,000.

The legislation in California follows similar suggestions in Florida, where Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, has asked the state's colleges to design a $10,000 bachelor's degree. Meanwhile, several institutions in Texas are already working to create a low-cost diploma.

In all three cases, however, the $10,000 price for the student represents only a portion of the overall cost of the education, with high schools, community colleges, and universities absorbing much of the remaining costs.

In the proposed California legislation, the state itself could be on the hook for much of the cost because the bill requires that schools and colleges be reimbursed for any mandated expenses.

Under the legislation, students would start to earn credits in high school, by taking Advanced Placement courses, and after graduation they would enroll full time at a community college. A state university would be required to accept up to 60 credits for transfer. The cost of textbooks is also to be included in the $10,000 cost to the student.

It's not clear if the legislation has any chance of passing. Assemblyman Logue is the bill's only sponsor so far, and the speaker of the California Assembly, a Democrat, reportedly has alternative plans for higher-education reform.