Community College is Now Free in San Francisco


The City College of San Francisco—a two-year public community college—is expected to offer San Francisco residents free tuition beginning Fall 2017. This incredible success for public education would make San Francisco the first city in the United States to provide free community college to its residents regardless of income.

The free tuition will be accessible to residents who have lived in San Francisco for at least one year and a day, and is made possible by a new deal under which the city guarantees $5.4 million a year to the city college for students’ $46-per-credit fees. The program—which will help a projected 28,000 students—will also offer grants to low-income students; full-time low-income students will be given a $500 annual grant and part-time students will receive $200.

The proposal is funded by Proposition W, which passed last November and established a .25 percent tax increase on commercial and real estate properties sold for $5 million or more. The increase is estimated to create $44 million in annual revenue.

By making tuition free, San Francisco is growing access to education, eliminating burdensome student loans and enabling residents to improve their qualifications and access better jobs. This development demonstrates that change for the good of the people is possible with planning, hard work and collaboration.

In a city like San Francisco, where rent and home prices weigh heavy on residents’ shoulders, free tuition means that much more. We hope to see more cities and colleges follow San Francisco’s example and demonstrate an understanding that investing in your people is always a wise choice.