The state of California became the latest state nationwide to make all of its own public community colleges tuition-free for in-state residents on Wednesday, August 28 after signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. In the new ratified annual 2019-2020 state budget, more than $42 million will be used to support the second year of free tuition for about 33,000 public community college students who qualify and are financially in need of the program as first-time, full-time individuals.
The public California Community College system is the largest higher education system in the country, serving about 2.1 million students, or 1/4 of public community college students in the entire U.S. California now joins 12 other states and Washington, D.C. that have enacted some form of tuition-free public higher education for their own in-state residents.
The movement for tuition-free and debt-free public high education is on the rise nationwide. Top-tier 2020 Democratic Party presidential primary candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have advocated for tuition-free and debt-free public higher education as well as further investment in public education throughout the campaign trail. Also, latest polling is starting to indicate that a majority of Americans, especially younger people between the ages of 18 years-old to 35 years-old, are supporting tuition-free and debt-free public higher education paid for by higher taxes on the rich and big businesses.
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