Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill on Oct. 13 that would provide a free year of full-time community college enrollment to California students, effective from the 2018-19 school year.
Assembly Bill No. 19 (AB 19), originally proposed by Assemblyman Antonio Santiago, would waive the fees of any first-time student looking to enroll in a community college full-time. California will be the third state to offer the first year of community college for free, with Rhode Island and New York already offering similar options.
Despite Foothill College already having one of the nation’s cheapest community college programs at around $46 per unit, many of its students still struggle to pay the $1,100 tuition required for full-time enrollment, according to Foothill College.
The new bill aims to increase the number of people who enroll full-time and the amount of degrees earned.
According to Santiago, many are forced to join the workforce immediately after high school and can only attend college part-time.
By incentivizing more to enroll in community college full-time, more people will be able to earn degrees that allow them to work in specialized high-demand jobs.
“AB 19 is a catalyst for change and student success, and that is why our college district is a co-sponsor of the bill. The bill has the ability to enable students to believe that college is possible.”