Bill in­tro­duced to make at­tend­ing com­mu­nity col­lege free for two years

The Tribune (SLO) - - Front Page - BY AN­DREW SHEELER

Cal­i­for­ni­ans could soon get two years of com­mu­nity col­lege for free, enough to earn an asso- ciate’s de­gree.

In 2017, Cal­i­for­nia Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the Cal­i­for­nia Col­lege Prom­ise, waiv­ing the first year of com­mu­nity col­lege tu­ition for full-time stu­dents. Assem­bly Bill 2, an­nounced Tues­day, would add a sec­ond year to that pro­gram.

“When we started this bill, we came up with a very sim­ple con­cept: One (year) is such a lonely number. So we came up with two,” the bill’s author, Assem­bly­man Miguel San­ti­ago, D-Los An­ge­les, said at a Tues­day press con­fer­ence.

The pro­gram ap­plies to first­time stu­dents en­rolled in 12 or more cred­its, pro­vided that they have com­pleted a fed­eral stu­dent aid ap­pli­ca­tion or Cal­i­for­nia Dream Act ap­pli­ca­tion. It is not re­stricted to Cal­i­for­nia res­i­dents, San­ti­ago said.

The bill con­tains no in­come re­quire­ment. How­ever, it does not cover other costs re­lated to at­tend­ing com­mu­nity col­lege, such as stu­dent fees and text­books.

San Luis Obispo County high school grad­u­ates al­ready have ac­cess to two years of free tu­ition at Cuesta Col­lege. The Cuesta Prom­ise schol­ar­ship launched din 2013 added a sec­ond year in June.

“Look, this is per­sonal for me. I’m a fa­ther of a com­mu­nity col­lege stu­dent,” said Los An­ge­les Mayor Eric Garcetti, who has a fos­ter son at­tend­ing a culi­nary arts pro­gram. “I know how th­ese pro­grams save lives. I know how they breathe hope.”

Garcetti said that univer­sal higher ed­u­ca­tion is a bi­par­ti­san ef­fort, some­thing sup­ported by Democrats like him and Repub- li­cans like Ten­nessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

“It is some­thing that is sweep­ing the nation and it is a ba­sic right,” Garcetti said.

Garcetti chal­lenged the ar­gu­ment that this is hand­ing some­thing to young peo­ple.

“They’re work­ing their tails off,” he said.

San­ti­ago said that “skin in the game for stu­dents is you’ve got to study and put ev­ery­thing on the line to get out of here.”

He added that this bill is just a part of a larger con­ver­sa­tion that he hoped would one day lead to every Cal­i­for­nian stu­dent be­ing able to earn a bach­e­lor’s de­gree debt-free.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.