Computer science bachelor programs get funding boost from Amazon

About 278,000 students, nearly half of whom are students of color, attend Washington’s 34 community and technical colleges each year, according to SBCTC.

According to statistics cited in the state Senate bill proposal, of the 1,883 computer science degrees awarded in Washington during the 2018-19 school year, only 3.8% were awarded to African American students, 5.6% to Hispanic students, and less than 1% to Native Americans. The dominant degree holders in this field are white and Asian men.

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Under the law, proposals can be submitted for approval in 2022 to the SBCTC, an appointed board which coordinates and directs the state’s community and technical colleges. Seattle Colleges — a community college district composed of North Seattle College, South Seattle College and Seattle Central College — is on track to submit its proposal in February.

While in the U.S. allow community and technical colleges to offer four-year degree programs, Washington and Florida are among the few states where such offerings are ubiquitous, said John Lederer, North Seattle College’s executive dean for career and workforce education.

Seattle Colleges offers more than a dozen other Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) programs, which tend to focus on building hands-on practical skills. Students with career training and associate degree credits can more easily transfer those credits into a (BAS) program. Bachelor of Science programs, on the other hand, integrate more elements of design and theory into the curriculum. Through BAS programs, students who might not get into a more selective institution have more options for attaining a four-year degree.