Curious: Why does Harper not offer bachelor’s degrees?


An “Admissions” sign hangs over a desk by the admissions office. (Photo by Kevin Foss.)

Harper does not offer any bachelor’s degree programs because the Public Community College Act does not permit the college to do so, according to Harper’s Chief of Staff Jeff Julian.

“Illinois community colleges derive their authority from the Public Community College Act,” Julian explained. “And within that act, there is no functional authority given to community colleges to offer a bachelor’s degree.” 

Julian added that Illinois legislation would need to make an amendment to this act in order for all Illinois community colleges, including Harper College, to provide bachelor’s degree programs.

The likelihood of this happening in Illinois is not entirely out of the question. According to Community College Daily, 24 states have authorized some community colleges to confer bachelor’s degrees as of March 2022. 

However, as of now, the only bachelor’s degree programs available at Harper are the ones offered through the University Center — a program that allows students to earn four-year degrees from a few select partnership universities. Harper has yet to offer its own bachelor’s degree programs.