Tallahassee Community College officials hoping to start up the school's first baccalaureate program will have to wait a while longer.
The Florida legislature has approved a moratorium on the creation of new baccalaureate programs at community colleges after several lawmakers expressed concern that many existing programs were duplicative or didn't adhere to local workforce needs.
A last-minute amendment by Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, to get a carve-out for TCC failed. Montford had tried to attach the language to a larger bill dealing with the state's early learning and voluntary pre-kindergarten programs.
Montford argued TCC should be exempt from the moratorium because it had already started the process of developing its program last year.
"This is a good program. They’re well into the process. They sent the letter in Dec. 13 to the chancellor, it’s not their fault they got delayed by a decision we did," Montford told the Senate.
But incoming Senate Majority Leader, Lizbeth Benacquisto, argued against the plan.
"We have taken a position as a body to have a comprehensive approach…and to carve out an exception to one, I just can’t support." she said.
Montford's amendment failed, and that means TCC's planned baccalaureate nursing program, will be delayed. The college wanted the program to fulfill what it claimed was a local workforce need. Tallahassee Memorial Hospital wants 80 percent of its nurses to have bachelor's degrees in the next few years.
Both Florida A&M and Florida State University were supportive of TCC's planned program--which would have been geared toward nurses without bachelor's degress.