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Free Community College Bachelor’s Degree Bill Introduced by Assembly Member Miguel Santiago

For immediate release:

(Sacramento, CA) – Earlier today, Assembly Assistant Majority Leader Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) introduced his first measure for the year – the Tuition-Free Bachelor’s Degree.

AB 2093 will expand the California Promise Program, allowing all low-income students to pursue a bachelor’s degree at any community college free of cost. Additionally, this bill will encourage low-income students to pursue higher education without the fear of significant college debt.

“In the world’s fourth largest economy, you should be able to get a bachelor’s degree that is tuition free,” said Assembly Member Santiago. “While we invested in financial aid for our community college students, (including the California College Promise Program), the number of bachelor’s degree earners fell by 2.4 percent, the first drop we have seen in a decade. We must ensure that all students regardless of income have the ability to receive a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, as the former President of the nation’s largest community college district and as someone who heavily relied on financial aid for college, it is imperative to ensure more Californians have the opportunity to access a bachelor’s degree.”

“This bill will provide our students with an affordable and accessible path to achieve their dreams of higher education by waiving their enrollment fees at community colleges if they are pursuing a bachelor’s degree,” said Assembly Member Sabrina Cervantes. “This is a great way to prepare our students for the jobs of the future and continue to make California a global economic powerhouse. I want to thank my friend and colleague, Assembly Member Miguel Santiago, for leading this effort.”

“The student success data are clear. The California Promise Program has been a game-changer in making higher education accessible to every Californian, irrespective of age, income, and zip code, who may not have afforded it otherwise,” said LACCD Chancellor Francisco C. Rodriguez, Ph.D. “Asm. Santiago proposed legislation to expand this program allowing qualifying students to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree at any of our state’s community college campuses tuition-free is the logical next step. This bill is not only a huge victory for equity for higher education, but it will uplift so many families by opening the doors to high-paying jobs in the future. LACCD is proud to wholeheartedly sponsor it.”

In addition to AB 2093, Assembly Member Santiago has led on previous pieces of legislation around free community college. This includes AB 19, a law he authored and passed in 2017 that made community college free in California for the first year. In 2019, he authored and passed legislation, AB 2, which added a second year of free community college.

AB 2093 will be referred to a policy committee for a hearing in late February or early March.

Assembly Member Miguel Santiago is the Assembly Assistant Majority Leader. He represents the 54th District composed of the cities of Los Angeles, Commerce, Montebello, and Vernon.