California to Make First Year of Community College Free

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California residents can now go to community college for free.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill in early October that gives students one year of free tuition at any of state’s 114 community colleges, as long as they are California residents and new students enrolling full-time, CNN reported.

This new legislation expands on what California already offered. Community colleges in the state currently charge residents $46 per credit — amounting to a cost of roughly $1,100 a year for students who enroll full-time.

The state has waived the per credit fee for low-income students since 1986, but this new legislation expands that to all students for at least their first year.

The proposal for a year of free community college stemmed from Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles). He hopes it will encourage students who would have never previously considered college to give it a chance.

“Community college changed my life. It gave me choices and opportunities and it opened doors,” Santiago told the Los Angeles Times“I know free community college will change the lives of Californians.”

The new legislation could go into effect as soon as the 2018-19 school year. California’s 2018 budget will determine the program’s start date, according to CNN.

Ashley Dobson is NACAC’s communications manager for content and social media. You can reach her at adobson@nacacnet.org

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