California bill makes first year of community college free

Posted at 5:08 PM, Oct 13, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The first year of community college will be free for thousands of California students under a bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. 

The signing announced Friday creates the "California College Promise" program. It waives course fees for a student's first year of classes.

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Students must apply for the fee waiver and take at least 12 credits per semester.

Each unit now costs $46.

The community college system estimates 19,000 students would be eligible for the fee waiver, which will cost the state about $31 million annually. 

Roughly 1.6 million of the system's 2.3 million students already receive other financial aid.

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The aid for first-time students is nothing new in San Diego.

Palomar Community College rolled out their "Palomar Promise" program, which guarantees the first year of tuition and fees are free for first-year students from more than 20 partner high schools, this year.

The "Palomar Promise" received $1.5 million in donations to aid with its first year.

The San Diego Community College district, including City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges, also offers its own program, "San Diego Promise," to cover fees for eligible incoming high school seniors.