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New State Investments to Make Two Years of Community College Tuition-Free

Just days into office, Governor Newsom unveiled his proposal to provide for two years of community college tuition-free for eligible students

SACRAMENTO, CA.– This week, as young people return to California institutions of higher learning, Governor Gavin Newsom is traveling the state to highlight that California will provide for two free years of community college to first-time, full-time California students for the first time in decades.

Just days after being sworn in, the Governor proposed that the California budget provides for two years of community college tuition-free for first-time, full-time students by expanding the California College Promise program. The Legislature approved the Governor’s proposal over the summer, and the Governor signed the legislation in June. The 2019-2020 state budget includes $42.6 million to support the second year of free tuition for approximately 33,000 students.

On his first stop, the Governor made a surprise visit to a political science class at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento.

“This is a real help for students trying to improve their lives and build their future,” said Governor Newsom. “No one can argue with the fact that the full cost of attending institutions of higher learning is still far too high – both in California and across the country. But by offering two years of community college tuition-free, California is taking a meaningful step toward chipping away at the cost of higher learning for students and their families.”

The California Community Colleges (CCCs) are the largest system of higher education in the nation, serving roughly one-quarter of the nation’s community college students, or approximately 2.1 million students, and therefore, the largest system of higher education to provide this support. The CCCs provide basic skills, career education and undergraduate transfer education with 73 districts, 115 colleges, and 78 educational centers. In 2017-18, the community colleges awarded more than 96,000 certificates and 160,000 degrees.

The state budget makes historic investments in areas that impact the student experience at community colleges, including $9 million for college students who are homeless or experiencing housing insecurity and $5 million to support veteran resource centers at community colleges. Additionally, a one-time increase of $4.75 million will support workforce development programs at some community colleges.

Later this week, the Governor will visit a community college in Los Angeles to continue promoting the state’s free community college option.

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