SLCC Associates Program No Longer Associated With Copper Hills

Salt Lake Community College no longer offers Grizzlies the chance to graduate with their associates degree.

Taylor Patton

An associates degree is the first degree you can get through a college. Salt Lake Community College has ended their associates degree program through Copper Hills. Grizzlies graduating after 2024 will no longer have the opportunity to graduate with their associates degree. 

The alteration of the program will affect any sophomores who have planned to graduate with their associates and will cause them to reevaluate their entire high school path. Corina Khouanphet, a sophomore at Copper Hills, who was planning on graduating with her associates degree. “I feel like an advantage I had has been taken away from me,” she said. She mentions that she was grateful she was getting the opportunity to earn a college degree straight out of high school, but that opportunity quickly went away. Khouanphet said her plan is to, “use most of my electives towards classes I would’ve needed to get my associates in hopes of being able to get into a good college.” The abrupt change has thrown her into a loop, but she still has a plan for her high school career. 

Teanna Sorensen, a junior at CHHS, was also planning on graduating with her associates degree. “My plan was to graduate with my degree so I could move out of state as soon as possible,” she said, “Being able to go to undergrad school right after high school would not only save me money, but help me pursue my career sooner.” The plan she has been following for years has been threatened. “I have been working towards this degree since 9th grade.” The life-changing news has made Sorensen frustrated due to the lack of information regarding the ending of the program. “I can still get my Certificate of Completion, but then I would have to spend another semester at SLCC before being able to move out,” she said.

To help students get back on track and organize their futures, there are counselors here to help them. Charlie Green, a counselor at Copper Hills, explained, “The program is ending because SLCC wants to reduce the number of unnecessary elective classes that kids take during high school so that way they can focus on the ‘meat’ of their college classes, which are the core classes (i.e History 1700, ENG1010/2010, BIO1010).” 

“SLCC will want to steer students to get a Certificate of Completion, which is completing all core courses that are available at CHHS,” Mr. Green said. Once a student gets their certificate and commits to college after high school, they can choose electives that will be more in line with the major of their choosing. However, “if a student is in the middle of their journey towards an AA degree then SLCC will ‘grandfather’ those students in,” said Mr. Green. Juniors and seniors get the opportunity to complete their high school journey the way they intended. As for sophomores, they will not get the opportunity to earn their associates degree through CHHS. To all the students who are worried about what their future holds, “Keep ya head up and stay on that grind,” Mr. Green concluded. 

The program will cease to exist as of July 2024 due to a new plan that commits students to a career after they graduate and not before. This way, students can focus on their major more compared to having to focus on high school and college all at once. Class of 2025 got the short end of the stick concerning the situation of graduating with an associates degree. As for class of 2024 and class of 2023, they will be able to graduate high school with their associates degree; therefore, they are able to move onto their career faster.