CA waives first-year tuition at community colleges - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

CA waives first-year tuition at community colleges

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SACRAMENTO (AP) - California will cover the cost of tuition for first-year community college students under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown.

AB19 by Assemblymen Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles; David Chiu, D-San Francisco; and Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, will save first-year, full-time students $1,104 a year by waiving the $46-per-unit fee.

Beginning Jan. 1, the state will cover tuition for an additional 19,000 students who don't already receive fee waivers for low-income students.

"This is a win for students, Californians and the economy," McCarty said before the bill was signed. "We want to make sure students graduate from college with reduced debt."

Students will still be responsible for other educational and living expenses if not covered by financial aid or scholarships. Lawmakers said they hope the bill will increase enrollment and college completion rates.

Enrollment spiked at City College of San Francisco this fall after the college made attendance virtually free for San Francisco residents who have lived in the state for at least a year. Enrollment jumped 16 percent over last year for an increase of nearly 4,900 students.

Lawmakers said more needs to be done to increase enrollment to ensure the state has the workforce needed in the coming years. California is expected to have a shortage of 1 million college-educated workers by 2025, with lawmakers saying AB19 will help bridge that gap.

"It's an important step toward restoring the promise of public higher education in California, and we're grateful to Gov. Brown for signing it into law," said Max Lubin, a UC Berkeley student and founder of the student group Rise California, which advocates for free college tuition.

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