Governor Newsom Makes Community College Cheaper For California Students

(Kevin Tidmore/The Corsair)

(Kevin Tidmore/The Corsair)

California Governor Gavin Newsom and state legislature have approved a large budget increase for California community colleges. The increased funds will go towards extending the 'California Promise Program' to a second year as well as the first.

California Governor Gavin Newsom and the California State Legislature have approved a large budget increase for California community colleges. The increased funds will go towards extending the California Promise Program (CPP) to a second year.

The CPP provides in-state high school graduates with one free year of community college education. The California Promise Legislation, passed in 2018, supplements similar initiatives that have been underway since 1985.

In January 2019, only days after being sworn into office, California Governor Gavin Newsom proposed a 42.6 million dollar expansion to the state budget. The bill sought to make California part of the growing national movement for cheaper community college fees.

The state legislature approved the Governor’s proposition over the summer, and as of Aug. 27, approximately 33,000 first-time, full-time California community college students will receive two years of tuition-free education.

In an official statement on, Newsom said, “This is real help for students trying to improve their lives and build their future.”

Newsom also made a surprise appearance at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento after the announcement, and recently promoted the program's expansion at East LA College.

He stated that, “By offering two years of community college tuition-free, California is taking a meaningful step toward chipping away at the cost of higher learning for students and their families.”

California Community Colleges serve approximately one quarter of the United States' 2.1 million community college students. According to California's state website, “community colleges awarded more than 96,000 certificates and 160,000 degrees,” in 2017-18.

Newsom hopes the decreased cost will expand options for young people seeking higher education at a lower cost.

Santa Monica College (SMC) staff members, like academic counselor Oscar Galindo, agree with Newsom.

Galindo said, “With my experience in financial aid I can tell you, the less expensive class is, the more people tend to use it.”

Galindo also stated that, “Ever since I started working here 27 years ago, one of the things that distinguishes [SMC] from almost any other school is that it draws from all over.”

He hopes this legislation will allow students an even broader range of access to higher education that they otherwise would not have had access to.

Film Production major Adina Berg was shocked when she heard the news, stating, "This makes everything so much easier.” The freshman was elated that California was making steps to reduce the cost of higher education.

“Obviously there are already a lot of options to get financial aid here, but the fact that it’s guaranteed takes so much stress off of students and their families," Berg said.

Governor Newsom and his associates wish to lead the nation in solving the modern student debt crisis. Students and staff members at SMC alike welcome the legislation and believe it will open higher education to more students across the state.

Galindo added, “people come to Santa Monica with the intent of continuing their education and transferring, and this will allow more to do so."