San Francisco Makes City College Free of Charge

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In a historic first for higher education, Mayor Ed Lee announced on Monday that San Francisco will be the first city in the US to make City College free of charge for all students, regardless of their income.

After months of pressuring City Hall, the city has finally committed to making higher education free for residents of San Francisco.

Mayor Ed Lee expressed his elation by saying “Your community college is now free.”

Eligibility and Requirements

San Francisco will provide over $5 million a year to City College to pay for the tuition of students residing in San Francisco.

Student must live in the city for at least a year and a day, in order to qualify as a resident, they can either be part-time or full-time students.

About 30,000 local students are expected to benefit from this decision.

Funding

The funds are from an increase in the real estate transfer tax for commercial and residential properties valued at more than $5 million.

“Those who sell their homes valued at $5 million and up will have to pay more” Lee added. “But think of it this way — people send their children to public schools and don’t pay tuition. City Hall is arguing that community college students shouldn’t have to either.”

Textbooks and supplies represent about $1,700 a year for a full-time students, according to the student expense budget for City College, that’s without including transportation.

A portion of the funds announced Monday will go to help students with those costs; full time students who receive financial aid will receive an extra $500.

Public Response

In response to this historic decision, San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim said, “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 new funding plan will be implemented starting next fall.