San Francisco Offers Free Community College

on February 8, 2017

San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee announced Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, that the city will offer free tuition to City College beginning in 2018.


The program offers free tuition to all California residents living in San Francisco and taking courses for credit. And, unlike other free tuition programs in places like Rhode Island and New York, it also will offer financial assistance for low-income students who need books, transportation, health fees and other expenses.


“As a child of working-class immigrants, I know first-hand the importance of a college education and the struggles to pay for it,” Lee said. “Working together, we found an economic plan that would make City College accessible to our city residents and give additional support to those students struggling the most.”


The city’s $5.4 million-per-year plan will provide the following:

  • Free tuition for California residents living in San Francisco
  • $500 annually to full-time students that have a Board of Governors (BOG) fee waiver to use for books, transportation, supplies and health fees
  • $200 annually to part-time students who have a BOG fee waiver to use for books, transportation, supplies and health fees
  • The plan also will provide City College with a one-time payment of $500,000 for capacity and systems to implement the plan

The plan was designed using the help of many government agencies, including the San Francisco Unified School District, the Board of Supervisors and the Human Services Agency, among others. The mayor’s office said the plan is sustainable.


“This commitment will provide our residents the opportunity to attend college, continue to learn and create better lives for themselves,” Lee said. “This is an investment in our youth, in our city and in our future.”


California last had free community college tuition in 1983-1984.


poll released in January by the Campaign for Free College Tuition found that almost 73 percent of American voters support state-sponsored, free college tuition.

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