TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - The College of Southern Idaho set a tuition rate for its first bachelor's degree offered at a community college in the state.
The degree is for an applied science degree in advanced food processing technology.
"It was created because the industry wanted it to," explained Janna Hamlett, a food science quality assurance assistant professor.
She said this is the first bachelor's degree for CSI and the first offered at a community college in the state.
"This degree, some of the classes are going to be talking about food safety, talking about automation, talking about sanitation," she listed among many other courses.
For student Javier Nolasco, this isn't his first program he tried at the college.
"Since the get-go my career options have skipped around," he said. "I started in dental, a dental hygienist, went into business and then ended up here."
He ended up in Hamlett's lab.
"So far it's been great. I've been able to learn quite a bit," he said. "The hands-on experience in this field is great."
The CSI board decided on Monday to set the rates for upper division and lower division courses.
"Three-quarters of the degree will be at $140 a credit and then the upper division would be at $285 a credit, which is still lower than Boise state, Idaho State and U of I," Hamlett said. "A university system typically charges between $300 to $400 a credit."
Nearing 50 years old, Jeff Lohr said it's not too late to be getting a second degree.
"I didn’t have to commute 250 miles, so it’s very nice because it's able for me to stay here, in my home. I don’t have to rent a house and go to school in another university," he said. "I can do it all right here. Don’t have to leave my friends or my family."
He said the job opportunities that can come from this degree are endless.
"It’s exciting to be in a program that’s in front of the curve. This program, is very, what I call progressive in a sense that they’re trying to see what’s happening down the road," he said. "If you go down in the lab, that’s the wave of the future. So what they’re doing here is they’re trying to get all the students trained and what the industry is going to be demanding down the road."
Hamlett said this program derived from working with the industries in the Magic Valley, such as McCain Foods, Chobani and others.
"Being able to offer a bachelor’s at CSI, letting students from the Magic Valley stay local, to get a bachelor’s degree, then get those jobs at those plants, that’s the main focus," she said.
Nolasco said after getting his bachelor's degree, he hopes to go into the research and development department at one of the local manufacturing companies.
"I think it’s way exciting, being part of this first generation that is offering to graduate with a bachelor’s degree," Nolasco said.
Classes working toward the bachelor's degree in this program will start this fall.