LA’s mayor proposes one year of free community college education to new LAUSD grads

New Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) graduates will receive one year of free community college education effective in 2017, if Mayor Eric Garcetti has his way.

The Los Angeles mayor made the announcement April 14, 2016, in his State of the City Address  that Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) graduates will be if the estimated funding will be reached and further decisions are finalized.

There was a plan for “America’s College Promise” in 2015 by President Barack Obama to spend $60 billion community for colleges to cover two years worth of tuition. However, Congress did not pass the bill.

The funding for a year of free community college will be raised with the help of LAUSD.

Ensuring that community college is affordable and available to our city’s students is a critical priority for Mayor Garcetti’s administration. As young Angelinos prepare to take part in the 21st century economy, it is crucial that they have access to continuing education after they graduate from high school,” Connie Llanos, Garcetti’s Press Secretary, wrote.

During his State of the City address Garcetti also announced that the initial cost will be $3 million and the LAUSD will help with the funding half of it, according to The Los Angeles Times.

With the collaboration of LAUSD and LACCD, we can make this vision a reality. By beginning an active fundraising effort with philanthropic partners, and matched contributions from LACCD, we can ensure that all hardworking LAUSD graduates will receive one free year of community college,” Llanos added.

Steven Zimmer, Board President of LAUSD’s District 4, was pleased about Garcetti’s decision. According to Zimmer, this is a “burden” that could be taken away from a lot of LAUSD students.

“During my many years working as a counselor, I saw my students struggle mightily to balance the cost of college fees with the basic survival needs of their family, all too often, dreams of a college degree fell victim to the immediate economic necessities,” Zimmer wrote in an email.

However, the free community college for thousands of LAUSD graduates will not affect the tuition fee for non-LAUSD graduates and non-residents.

“The program would not be paid for by increasing the tuition in the LACCD. Tuition rates are set by the State Legislature and the Governor. Neither the Mayor nor the local community college district have the authority to increase or decrease tuition. Currently, any proposal to increase tuition rates would have to be approved in Sacramento,” Kathleen Burke, president of Pierce College, wrote in an email.

“It could very well mean our students with the most potential will have a chance to realize a uniquely Los Angeles version of the American Dream,” Zimmer wrote.