By Felicia Mello, CalMatters
In yet another push to make higher education more accessible in California, a bill filed in the state Legislature last week would extend the state’s tuition-free college guarantee to four years —and beyond community college —for some students, making it one of the most generous programs in the nation.
Students who earn an associate’s degree for transfer through the California College Promise program could finish their bachelor’s degrees for free at California State University under the legislation, authored by Los Angeles Assemblyman Miguel Santiago.
While the bill must still make its way through the legislative process, it has surfaced at a time when free college has become a hot topic during the Democratic presidential primaries, just a year after California’s liberal governor and Legislature gave community college districts money to waive two years of fees for first-time, full-time students.
Santiago authored that law, too, and said his goal now is for students from low-income families to see a bachelor’s degree as within their financial reach, “If we want a truly debt-free education, you’ve got to begin that conversation by cutting tuition and fees,” he said.“If you don’t tell these kids every single day that you’re going to go to college, it may not be a reality.”
[Image: Sonoma State University. Source: Wikimedia}
About 22,000 students entered CSU in the 2017-18 school year with an associate’s degree for transfer, a special two-year credential that guarantees a spot at the university. The CSU has not yet taken a position on the bill, said spokesperson Mike Uhlenkamp.