San Francisco Offers a Free College Education!

Brionna Bartlebaugh (11th), Reporter

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San Francisco is going to be the very first U.S. city to offer a free college education. Last Monday, Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Jane Kim had announced plans to offer free city college tuition to San Francisco’s residents in need. It would be the first metropolitan area to do so, starting next fall.

San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim had told local station KGO-TV, “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.”

The deal was that the city of San Francisco would provide the city college of San Francisco with nearly $5.4 million annually. The two year community college charges $46 per credit. According to Kim, more than 28,000 students would benefit from the deal and any resident who has lived in the city for at least a year would qualify.

The free tuition plan will be expected to impact those 28,000 residents that currently take classes at the city college, but will try to encourage more people to sign up. The deal would also provide full time low income students that already receive fee waivers from the state $250 per semester. Those funds can be used towards books, transportation and other costs.

To help the city college develop and arrange these changes, the city of San Francisco would additionally offer the one time funding of $500,000. In November, residents had approved a transfer tax on properties that had sold above $5 million to help pay for the deal.

Lee and Kim’s announcement marked a major turning point in the campaign for free college. In January, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had also proposed a plan to give free public college tuition to students whose parents earn less than $125,000 per year.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had both supposedly backed up similar proposals. But San Francisco’s plan had took the concept one step further. Wealthy residents, “even the children of the founders of Facebook,” would qualify for free two-year community college under this proposal, says Supervisor Jane Kim.

But soon tomorrow, City College of San Francisco’s board of trustees will be expected to qualify to finalize the plan.

At the City Hall news conference with Kim, the city college, the faculty members, the acting Chancellor Susan lamb and others, Lee stated, “Now we can say to California resident students that your city college is free.”

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