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San Francisco Launches Free College Plan

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The City College of San Francisco will do away with tuition fees, becoming the first public college in the state to return to a tuition-free status.

The college will no longer charge city residents $46 per credit, and will also give full-time students qualified for the fee waiver an additional $250 to pay for books and other school-related costs, reported the San Francisco Gate.

Part-time students who qualify for the waiver will receive $100 per semester.

"Now we can say to California resident students that your City College is free," San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said. "This is a good story."

Students must have lived in San Francisco for at least one year in order to be eligible.

The money to pay for the free college program will come from a transfer tax on properties selling for at least $5 million, which was approved by voters during the November 2016 election.

City College of San Francisco's tuition-free program marks a return to the model many public colleges in California had until the 1970's, according to Politifact.

"Historically, many individual institutions refrained from student charges, including early Stanford. Community colleges were often free, being considered an extension of secondary schools," said Roger L. Geiger, education professor at Penn State, according to Politifact.

San Francisco's tuition-free program, which is available to all city residents regardless of income, comes about one month after Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo of New York announced a proposal to make public college in New York tuition-free for students with family incomes of less than $125,000 per year.

"It should be a wake-up call to this nation to say if you really want to be competitive globally, we have to have the best educated workforce, and that means we have to have college for every child, man or woman who wants to attend," Cuomo said, according to CBS News.

Sources: San Francisco Gate, Politifact, CBS News/ Photo Credit: Commonwealth Club/Flickr

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