Mayor Ed Lee announced on Monday that San Francisco will be the first in the United States of America to make city college free for all students, regardless of their income. It’s a historic first for higher education in the nation. It is expected that more than 30,000 local students will benefit from the funds.
Several months of putting pressure on City Hall to make higher education free has paid off. “To California residents who are living in San Francisco, your community college is now free,” Lee said.
City Hall is arguing that community college students shouldn’t have to pay tuition since children in public schools don’t pay either and many people send them there.
“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,” San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim said.
San Francisco will guarantee nearly $5.4 million a year to City College to pay for the tuition of students who reside in San Francisco. Some of the money will go to tuition and full time students who receive financial aid will receive an extra $500.
Hopefully this will cover the estimated student expense budget such as textbooks and supplies around a total of $1,700 a year for full-time students minus transportation.
The money will come from an increase in the real estate transfer tax for commercial and residential properties valued at more than $5 million.
To qualify as a resident, a student must live in the city for at least one year and a day. They can either be part-time or full-time students.
This new program is expected to start next fall. San Francisco opens up US to join other countries like Norway, Finland, Sweden and Germany which offer free university education.