San Francisco has reached an agreement to keep City College of San Francisco free through the next decade, meaning that the decision whether to continue the free tuition program won’t fall on voters’ shoulders.
In December 2018, San Francisco supervisors agreed on a charter amendment that would have asked voters in the November 2019 elections whether the city should put aside $15 million annually for the program and extend it through 2030.
But with Mayor London Breed’s announcement earlier this month, Supervisor Gordon Mar said he would withdraw the charter amendment at an upcoming Board of Supervisors meeting.
Under the new agreement, the city now will provide $8.4 million in new funding in addition to $6.6 million that has already been set aside for the program, a $15 million allocation that will be made each year.
Additionally, the city is also giving a one-time payment of $5.4 million to help with costs incurred by the higher-than-projected number of students enrolled since the free college program began.
“Expanding access to higher education for all is an incredibly important part of our work to make San Francisco a more equitable city,” Breed said in a statement. “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.”
Mar said, “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.”
Funding for the initial pilot program came from 2016’s Proposition W, which raised the real estate transfer tax on properties of more than $5 million. Voters approved it by 61.8 percent.
San Francisco became the nation’s first city to make community college free in 2017, implementing a two-year pilot program in the fall of that year. The program expired at the end of this year’s spring semester.