By VERONICA SPAGNA
Last Friday, California became the latest state to help students reduce their college costs. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill that will allow students in public colleges to have free tuition for their first year of college, creating the “California College Promise.” This bill is different and more forward then the other few free college plans in the United States.
California already had one of the most affordable tuitions in public colleges in the nation. Since 1986, low-income students had to pay a $5 fee per credit and other residents $46 per credit. The new bill is expanded to all students, not just the ones with low income, allowing all residents to have a free first year of classes. But it does offer money to students with who cannot afford to pay for additional expenses.
There are 114 community colleges in California. This is supposed to encourage enrollment and higher education. This will make the idea of college not just an option to many people.
Other additions that make this bill so forward-thinking is the fact that the plan is not just applicable for students who finished high school, every resident of any age is eligible.
What also makes it unlike other plans in other states, is the fact that you do not need to be a full- time student, which means you do not have to pursue a degree and you can apply for just one class if you want.
The plan requires the students to be residents and they must be in their first year of college. No matter how old you are, if it’s your first time on campus you are eligible for a free year.
The number of students that will be eligible for the waiver is estimated to be 19,000 per year, which means that it will cost the state around $31 million per year. Of course, if more people will enroll in the plan it will cost taxpayers more.
The plan includes the payment for classes, but for many, it will not include other college fees, such as health insurance, Internet, books, place of residence and more. College books can be very expensive but making the cost of classes free will help students pursue their careers.
Different articles reported different dates concerning the time in which the plan will come into effect. Some reported fall 2018, but others admitted in lacking the certainty of when the bill will come into effect, as at the current moment, the state funding is still lacking.
The “California College Promise” is a very appealing plan and it encourages many futures but it will simultaneously require a decent amount of tax money to come into effect. Reports and news articles fail to talk about what taxpayers think about this bill.
The response of residents to the plan should be reported, especially because, in recent months there has been damage in the state caused by wildfires. These fires have not been extinguished yet and continue to damage areas. Forty thousand people were evacuated and 5,700 buildings were destroyed, including homes and businesses. This natural tragedy is bound to have an impact on California’s state funding. Reports should take into consideration the recent events and their impact on residents and taxes and the effect on the progress of the bill, if any.