California College Promise Offers Free College to First-Time Students

Story By: Ashleigh Panoo, Editor-in-Chief

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new bill Oct. 13, promising the first year of community college in California will be free to all incoming students.

The California College Promise will waive fees for one academic year for students enrolled in 12 or more units. Students must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or a California Dream Act application to qualify.

Although Brown signed the bill Oct. 13, its funding is partially contingent on the 2018-19 budget, according to Ed Source. It’s predicted to cost $30 million to $50 million a year and will help 19,000 students who were not covered under the former Board of Governor’s fee waiver.

The California College Promise replaces the BOG fee waiver and its income and other requirements, according to the bill.

Currently each unit is $46 at the 114 community colleges in the state. A full-time student taking 12 units at $46 a unit would rack up $552 a semester, on top of books, the health fee and other supplies.

Community college leaders hope the new waiver will usher in more high school students who wouldn’t otherwise attend college because of the high costs.

“The California College Promise will help foster a stronger culture of college participation that will enhance upward social mobility in California,” said Eloy Oakley, California Community College Chancellor.

Oakley said the BOG fee waiver has covered tuition for over a million students since its inception more than 30 years ago.