A proposal floated by Supervisor and state senatorial candidate Jane Kim back in April to make tuition at City College of San Francisco (CCSF) which it was up until the early 1980's passed by a 10-1 margin at the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, as KRON 4 reports. The resolution would eliminate enrollment fees for all city residents, city workers, and those working in the city at least part time, fees which in recent decades have climbed to just over $1,100, not including textbooks or other expenses.
Additionally, the resolution adds grants-in-aid to students receiving financial aid to help cover textbooks and transportation.
Still at issue is how to pay for this, and Kim had originally proposed a "mansion tax," adding a 0.25% tax to all property sales over $5 million, and a 3% transfer tax on all property sales over $25 million. The Board decided to delay voting on that, and as CBS 5 reports, Supervisor Mark Farrell, who was the lone "no" vote on the tuition resolution, he feels the $12.6 million expense for free tuition should be dealt with in the context of the entire city budget. "I’m very supportive of having free City College in San Francisco," Farrell said. "But the way we are doing it right now, or the way my colleagues are proposing it is just the wrong approach."
In proposing the original resolution, Kim said, "When students have to make the choice between paying rent or paying tuition, buying groceries or buying textbooks, we have to act. Higher education isn’t a luxury it’s a fundamental necessity if we want San Franciscans to be able to compete in the 21st century workplace and we have a plan that can fully fund this proposal to help over 20,000 students from all walks of life, of all ages, to pursue their dreams.”
Free tuition is likely to help boost enrollment at CCSF, which has seen a steady decline in its student population since its recent accreditation troubles, which began in 2013.
Also, the move echoes a campaign promise of Bernie Sanders, recently adopted in a modified version by Hillary Clinton, to make all public universities free to families under a certain income level.