San Francisco first to go tuition free for community college

Columnist Alex Daniels

Columnist Alex Daniels

The City College of San Francisco just announced it’s offering free tuition to all San Francisco residents.

This was announced by the city’s mayor, Ed Lee, on Feb. 7. With expectations to begin next fall, it was made possible by charging a tax, which was approved by San Francisco voters.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the city plans to provide $5.4 million per year to cover the cost that students are currently paying, which is $46 per credit, coming from the tax. The only qualification necessary to be eligible to receive free tuition is that a student must be a San Francisco resident for at least a full year. This makes San Francisco the first city in the country to offer free tuition to students.

Of the total $5.4 million, $2.1 million will cover the cost of classes, while the remaining $3.3 million will help low-income students with the costs of books, supplies, transportation, etc. “This commitment will provide our residents the opportunity to attend college, continue to learn, and create better lives for themselves. This is an investment in our youth, in our city, and in our future,” said Lee.

With the idea of free college becoming increasingly popular, the city of San Francisco was the first to put the right foot forward. Citizens will have to pay a larger amount of money in taxes, but it’s for an important reason. Education is extremely valuable and everyone should get the chance to receive a college education no matter their income.

"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.

With more people being able to go to college, the population as a whole will flourish. Kim believes the wealth of the citizens will increase with more people having the option to go to college.

Other states have proposed free college plans as well. The state of New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo created a plan to make college tuition free to families who earn less than $125,000 a year. But the plan for San Francisco City College is taking the next step, with allowing every resident to attend for free, no matter their family’s income.

With the City College becoming tuition-free, some students can have a higher chance of transferring to a university after two years. While students are attending City College, their families can save money they would’ve originally used to pay the tuition, for a university later on.

A college education is something that every young adult should be able to receive. Cities all over the country should be making steps towards fighting for free tuition at community colleges.

San Francisco has made a huge advancement towards bettering the education for residents living in the city. No matter what a family’s income is, students should be able to pursue a higher education.