By Michael Barba : sfexaminer – excerpt
Thousands of students will begin attending City College of San Francisco for free next semester under an agreement reached Friday after months of political wrangling.
Mayor Ed Lee agreed to spend $5.4 million on free tuition for San Francisco residents as well as books for low-income students in the upcoming school year. The funding is enough to cover tuition for current students while allowing for a 20 percent increase in enrollment.
The college has struggled in recent years, losing a third of its students during its accreditation crisis, but could turn a corner under the free-tuition program after having its accreditation renewed last month.
Lee agreed to the deal late last week after months of back-and-forth with members of the Board of Supervisors, college officials and advocates who wanted the mayor to spend $9 million on the effort in the coming semester.
The initial $9 million estimate included free tuition for international students and covered $1,000 worth of books and other school expenses for low-income students.
Under the agreement, international students will not receive free tuition and grants for low-income students were reduced to $500 for full-time students and $200 for part-time students. Free tuition also only applies to city residents who have lived in California for at least a year.
Supervisor Jane Kim, who has led the effort for a free City College, praised the deal Sunday but noted she would like to see the funding increase in future years to cover more expenses for low-income students… (more)
San Francisco is striking out on a new course with this action, placing education on a higher plane and showing the embattled City College the respect it deserves. What is also important is the respect City Hall is showing for the voters by funding a program they voted to support. We hope this is a sign of good things to come.