It’s a historic first for higher education in San Francisco. Mayor Ed Lee announced on Monday that the city will be the first in the nation to make city college free for all students, regardless of their income.
Those who sell their homes valued at $5 million and up will have to pay more. But think of it this way — people send their children to public schools and don’t pay tuition. City Hall is arguing that community college students shouldn’t have to either.
Months of putting pressure on City Hall to commit to making higher education free finally paid off. “To California residents who are living in San Francisco, your community college is now free,” Lee 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. In order to qualify as a resident, a student must live in the city for at least a year and a day. They can either be part-time or full-time students.
The money will come from an increase in the real estate transfer tax for commercial and residential properties valued at more than $5 million. About 30,000 local students are expected to benefit from the funds.
“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.
According to the student expense budget for City College, textbooks and supplies represent about $1,700 a year for a full-time students, that’s not including transportation. Some of the money announced Monday will go to help offset those costs. Full time students who receive financial aid will receive an extra $500.
The new funding will go into effect next fall.