San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and Supervisor Gordon Mar today announced that they have reached an agreement to fully fund the San Francisco City College Enrollment Fee Assistance Fund, also known as “Free City College,” for 10 years, and provide for greater oversight of program operations. Supervisor Mar has moved to withdraw the proposed Charter Amendment regarding Free City College funding, which would have created an ongoing budget set-aside.
The agreement calls for the City to provide $8.4 million in new funding in addition to the $6.6 million that is currently budgeted next year 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. Moving forward, the funding will allow for the City to have greater oversight of its contributions to the program.
“Expanding access to higher education for all is an incredibly important part of our work to make San Francisco a more equitable city,” said Mayor Breed. “With this agreement we will bring greater transparency and financial responsibility to the program while ensuring that our residents will be able to continue to take courses at City College for free.”
“I'm proud to announce this agreement with Mayor Breed to ensure Free City is fully funded for the next decade -- while also providing the funding a year sooner than a Charter Amendment could have, and reimbursing City College for the funding gap from the first two years of the program,” said Supervisor Mar. “The people of San Francisco already voted overwhelmingly to create Free City, and this agreement honors and expands on that commitment, to the benefit of our City College students, teachers, and the entire City.”
The Board of Supervisors approved the Free City College program in September 2016, which covers the cost of tuition and associated 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 agreement calls for the Mayor, Supervisor Mar, and City College to continue working on a ten year Memorandum of Understanding that will incorporate terms of the proposed Charter Amendment and require City College to leverage state funding and financial aid. Additionally, City College will be required to institute agreed-upon reporting and accountability metrics to be submitted to the City in order to avoid future budget shortfalls.
The Board of Supervisors had passed a Free City charter amendment to be placed on the November 2019 ballot. Supervisor Mar has placed a motion to withdraw this Charter Amendment from the ballot, which will be voted on at an upcoming meeting.