Why California’s Push for ‘Free’ Community College Is So Misguided

The Daily Signal | 1/9/2019 | Staff
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Mary Clare Amselem is a policy analyst in education policy at The Heritage Foundation.

Just when you thought California couldn’t ask any more of its taxpayers, the state legislature is pushing for two years of “free” community college for all residents, regardless of income.

California - Programs - Students - Community - College

California already has several existing programs to subsidize students who attend community college. Almost half of California’s community college student population has taken advantage of the state’s California College Promise Grant since 1985, which covers all application fees.

Last year, lawmakers passed a bill making the first year of community college free. This latest proposal would put taxpayers on the hook to cover the second year, subsidizing all students—even the sons and daughters of the Hollywood elite—to attend community college in the state tuition-free.

Gov - Gavin - Newsom - Jan - Promise

Gov. Gavin Newsom, inaugurated Jan. 7, campaigned on the promise of “free” tuition and claims that removing the burden of tuition will encourage students to stay enrolled and finish faster.

Unfortunately, California’s plan to make it possible for students to attend community college tuition-free is riddled with problems that would be a great disservice to the residents of the state.

Problem - California - Community - College - Plan

The most glaring problem with California’s free community college plan is clearly the cost.

California is already a high-tax state, with the highest income-tax rate in the country at 13.3 percent. Currently, the state has appropriated $46 million to cover just one year of community college and roughly the same amount is expected to cover the second year.

Students - Income - Level - Community - College

Second, subsidizing all students, regardless of income level, who attend community college will simply serve to extend the K-12 education system into a K-14 system.

The education system once successfully equipped students with the skills necessary to enter the workforce, and particularly...
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