Assembly Bill 19 to bring free community college

Hannah Lee, News Editor

California is home to one of the largest community college systems in America, with over 114 community colleges in the state serving hundreds of thousands of students. In hopes of making these colleges even more accessible, a program that will allow state residents a free first year is currently in the process of being implemented

With the current cost of $46 per unit, students pay approximately $1400 for a full year of community college, which can cause financial issues for some.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 19 on Oct. 13. Proposed by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, the bill created the California College Promise Program to give future community college students a free first year. Starting on Jan. 1, 2018, any state resident, regardless of income, that enrolls as a full time, first year student will be eligible to have their first two semesters of community college free, as long as they take a minimum of 12 credits per semester. However, this does not cover other fees such as health care or school activities.

This new program would cost the state $31 million, with approximately 19,000 students qualifying for the waiver. However, specifics on how it will be implemented and funded are still being polished by the Legislature, with the funding mechanism to be discussed in early 2018.