This fall, San Francisco will become the first city in the nation to offer free community college to all of its residents.
San Francisco will provide the City College of San Francisco with nearly $5.4 million annually for the program. Of that, $3.1 million will go towards tuition, which currently is at $46 per credit at the community college, and $2.3 million will cover related expenses for people who have lived in the city for at least one year. Low-income full-time students will also receive $500 for textbooks and supplies while low-income part-time students will get about half of that.
The plan will be funded through Proposition W, which was approved last November. Proposition W is a transfer tax levied on all homes selling for $5 million or more and is expected to raise $44 million annually.
The initiative is in the same vein of a $163-million proposal by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in December except that San Francisco’s plan has no income restriction and is only open to those wishing to enroll in two-year community college. New York’s plan included all of the state’s universities, city colleges and community colleges and was limited to families who earned less than $125,000.
“Even the children of the founders of Facebook” would be eligible for free community college, said San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim, who started the free tuition initiative to help combat income inequality in the area.
“Making City College free is going to provide greater opportunities for more San Franciscans to enter into the middle class and more San Franciscans to stay in the middle class if they currently are.” Kim said.
Author: Donna Fuscaldo
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