During the last three decades of the twentieth century, it was the policy of many industrialized countries to shift the responsibility for a substantial portion of baccalaureate credit activity to colleges and other non-university postsecondary institutions. In most American states and some Canadian provinces, this was accomplished through assigning colleges the role of providing the first two years of baccalaureate courses, or expanding that role where it was already being performed. The
alternative approach, followed in several European countries, was to transform their college sectors into parallel degree granting sectors that offered complete baccalaureate – and in some countries, also postgraduate – programs of a more applied, career-focused nature than those offered by the universities. Although the predominant approach in North America for a long time was for colleges to provide only the first two years of baccalaureate programs, in the 1990s this started to change, as colleges in some states and provinces were given the authority to award baccalaureate degrees on their own. British Columbia and Alberta were among the first places in North America where colleges awarded baccalaureate degrees. Ontario colleges were given the authority to award baccalaureate degrees in 2000, and since then so also have colleges in Manitoba, Prince Edward
Island, and the Yukon. South of the border, colleges in 18 states have been authorized to award baccalaureate degrees.