California Bill Proposes Free Tuition for Low-Income Students Pursuing Bachelor’s Degrees at Community Colleges

Assembly Bill 2093 would allow low-income students in California to pursue a bachelor's degree at any community college tuition-free.
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Published on February 27, 2024
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  • The bill would allow low-income students to pursue bachelor's degrees at community colleges tuition-free.
  • It would extend the two years of free community college already offered to qualifying students to four.
  • California Community Colleges offer over 30 bachelor's degree programs.

A proposed bill would provide free tuition to low-income students pursuing bachelor's degrees at California Community Colleges (CCC).

Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, introduced the legislation, which would extend covered enrollment fees for eligible students under the California College Promise Grant from two to four academic years.

"In the world's fourth-largest economy, you should be able to get a bachelor's degree that is tuition-free," Santiago said in a press release. "... We must ensure that all students regardless of income have the ability to receive a bachelor's degree."

The California College Promise Grant provides free tuition to an estimated 1 million community college students in the state, almost half of the 2.1 million students enrolled in CCC. To receive the grant, you must fall within the income standards.

Students must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application to be eligible for the aid.

CCC currently offers 33 bachelor's degrees, with programs ranging from respiratory care, dental hygiene, and health information management to automotive technology, biomanufacturing, and even mortuary science.

All four-year degrees CCC offers are exclusive to the system and aren't offered at California State University (CSU) or University of California (UC) campuses.

The California Community Colleges Baccalaureate Degree Program began with a pilot program at 15 community colleges in 2014. In 2021, the program expanded indefinitely to include up to 30 baccalaureate degree programs in two application cycles per academic year, according to the CCC.

Assembly Bill 2093 is expected to be heard in committee by early March.