Free Tuition and Other Assistance for California Community College Students

Free Tuition and Other Assistance for California Community College Students

Sacramento

California’s new budget includes $280 million for programs to make college more affordable for the state’s students. As a result, eligible students will now able to attend community college free for two years—an enhancement to the current funding that accommodate one free year. Governor Gavin Newsom stressed, “Higher education is not just CSU or UC. The first door of higher education is community college for millions of Californians and we’re proud to have a second year of community college free.” The budget’s nearly $42 million dollars increase to Cal Grants is designed to provide greater tuition assistance to the state’s low-income and middle-income students.  AB 19, the bill which authorized the California College Promise program which allocates the infusion of funding to the state’s 114 community colleges is designed to help students overcome costs related to attending community college and as a result, is not solely focused on tuition.  The legislation as written actually gives these colleges fairly broad discretion in how they choose to use the funds. As such the dollars cannot only be used to offset the cost of tuition but also to defray the cost of laptops, textbooks and other expenses based on the schools’ determination and qualifying criteria.  According to a report by the publication EdSource nearly ten percent of community colleges are using the money to cover non-tuition costs for such necessities as food, transportation and textbooks only. On the other hand, a majority of colleges plan to do both by awarding their students some combination of tuition and non-tuition aid.

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