The University of California, Berkeley, announced this week that it will offer a four-year, $5,000 bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering to anyone who has an undergraduate degree in computer science or engineering.
The announcement comes as many colleges are scrambling to hire more students and attract graduates from the country’s most prestigious institutions.
The news comes as some schools are scrambling for graduates from California’s tech industry, including California State University, Northridge, Caltech and California Polytechnic State University.
“We have to have students,” Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said.
“It’s important for us to be able to attract those students, because we have to be the best.”
The university also said it would offer the degree at a $2,000 discount to students who earn at least a bachelor’s and master’s degree at any of the top-tier schools in the country.
A Stanford graduate will receive a $3,000 grant and an additional $3 for each two-year term at the school.
That grant will pay for tuition and fees at Berkeley, the university said.
Other schools also announced plans to offer their students a three-year degree in a computer science degree at $3 to $5 per year, as the California-based company is also expanding its offerings to include more majors.
“The impact of the Stanford program is going to be on the bottom line of students, who are already struggling with debt,” Stanford University spokesman Aaron Ybarra said.
Stanford also said that the program will be open to students in any major, including computer science, engineering and math.
“Our goal is to be more than just a program for computer science majors,” Ybarre said.
The decision comes as California has seen a surge in the number of students who are considering a career in technology.
The state’s economy added 8.4 million jobs last year, according to the state Department of Commerce and Industry.
But according to recent census data, there are about 12.5 million Californians who were unemployed last month, which is nearly twice the unemployment rate of the country as a whole.
More than half of those people are students, according a report from the Pew Research Center.
And while the state has had its share of tech boomers, it also has a significant student population, according the Pew report.
About half of California’s college students were graduates last year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.