First-time community college students in California may be able to get a discounted, or even free college education thanks to a new "California College Promise" law. The point of the program is to "create the environment and alignment that will help students finish college."
Governor Jerry Brown's signing of A.B. 19 indicates that the "California College Promise" is included in state law. Once final appropriations are made, the necessary funds will be divvied among participating colleges. A.B. 19 is expected to cost approximately $31 million but California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley is "hopeful the governor may propose to allocate $30 to $40 million” for the California College Promise next year. Under A.B. 19, leaders of participating colleges will be able to "eliminate or reduce fees for new, full-time students for an entire academic year, including the summer session that precedes fall classes."
Almost half of the 2.1 million students attending a California Community Colleges campus already receive waivers that allow them to attend college free of charge. The California College Promise is not the first free college program; other schools that offer free college scholarship programs and tuition-free college include Alice Lloyd College, Barclay College, Berea College, College of the Ozarks, Curtis Institute of Music, Deep Springs College, the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Coast Guard Academy, the United States Merchant Marine Academy, the United States Military Academy, the United States Naval Academy, and the Webb Institute. New York Community Colleges also offers a free public college tuition program through the Excelsior Scholarship.