San Francisco First U.S. City to Make Community College Free*
In an age of rising higher education costs, San Francisco has become the first city to make community college free. The announcement comes amid Senate hearings for the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, a nominee who opponents believe could threaten the U.S. public education system.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee made the announcement Monday, saying the new policy would be for all students, regardless of their income. Only those that sell their homes at an upward value of US $5 million and more will have to pay some fees.
“To California residents who are living in San Francisco, your community college is now free,” Lee said, as reported by ABC 7 News.
The city will set aside US $5.4 million a year to pay for the tuitions of the students at city colleges, the funds for which will come from an increase in the real estate transfer tax for commercial and residential properties that are worth more than US $5 million. In order for students to qualify, they must have resided in the city for a year and a day.
Around 3,000 students are expected to benefit from the funds, which will go into effect in Fall 2017.
“Making city college free is going to provide greater opportunities for more San Franciscans to enter into the middle class and more San Franciscans to stay in the middle class if they currently are,” said San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim, as reported by ABC 7 News.