California offers free first year of community college

October 18, 2017 by  

Governor Jerry Brown recently gave Tustin students and others across the state an added incentive to anticipate the next round of community college catalog printing, by making the first year free for all California students.

California has 114 community colleges, making it one of the largest such systems in the country, and is the third state to adopt this type of legislation, with New York and Rhode Island preceding it this year.

The community college system here was already one of the least expensive in the country. Currently students who are California residents pay only $46 per credit, which for a full-time student comes to $1,100 per year. Low-income students, since 1986, have had their per-credit fee waived, which in the 2015-2016 school year benefited about 43% of students attending community college.

The law requires the student to be a resident and a new, full-time student and is not limited to low-income students. Proponents of the new law are hoping it will increase full-time enrollment. As Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, who wrote the bill, pointed out, the success rate for full-time students is greater than those who only attended part time.

Free community college could begin in the 2018-2019 school year, but only if funding is provided by the state legislature in next year’s budget, which has until June 2018 to be approved.