The Board of Supervisors today unanimously passed legislation introduced by Mayor London N. Breed and Supervisor Gordon Mar to fully fund the San Francisco City College Enrollment Fee Assistance Fund, also known as “Free City College,” for ten years, and provide for greater oversight of program operations.
The City will provide $8.4 million in new funding, in addition to the $6.6 million that is currently budgeted for the program, to fully fund Free City College. In addition to this annual $15 million allocation, the City will fund a one-time payment of $5.4 million to offset the costs incurred by the City College of San Francisco as a result of enrollment exceeding the original Free City College projections.
“This legislation will secure the future of Free City College so that San Franciscans continue to have access to higher education without having to worry about it being too expensive,” said Mayor Breed. “This is a matter of equity and I am glad to see this program continue for years to come.”
“Free City College is the most inclusive free college tuition program in the country, giving thousands of students access to the opportunities that only education can provide” said Mar. “I'm proud of the deal we’ve reached to fully fund Free City for the next decade, one that expands on our investments in our students and our City’s only life-long learning institution. Under this deal, Free City will continue to break down barriers to higher education for all San Francisco residents and grow enrollment in the college. And as momentum for tuition-free and debt-free college gains steam in states and across the country, Free City will continue to set an example for the nation.”
“We are thankful that the Mayor and Board of Supervisors showed tremendous leadership to create long-term funding for Free City, which has been a vital benefit to thousands of San Franciscans,” said City College Board President Alex Randolph. “City College is open for enrollment and looking forward to welcoming the next group of dedicated students this Fall Semester.”
Free City College is part of a growing movement of local, state and federal policies to address the public demand to make college more affordable, reduce the cost of college, and make attainment of higher education a reality.
The Board of Supervisors approved the Free City College program in September 2016, which covers the cost of tuition and associated educational expenses for eligible San Francisco residents. For students who qualify for state-funded tuition support, Free City provides funds to help with the cost of books, transportation, and other education-related expenses.
The legislation formalizes a ten year Memorandum of Understanding with City College that will institute agreed-upon reporting and accountability metrics to be submitted to the City and avoid future budget shortfalls. The Free City College Oversight Committee will also be established to provide recommendations to the Mayor, Board of Supervisors and relevant City departments about the Free City College program.