REDWOOD CITY – San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa made the following statement after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced over the weekend he is providing two years of tuition free community college into the state’s $215 billion budget.

“This is an incredible win for California students. Newsom hit a grand slam by including tuition free community college into his first budget,” Canepa said. “The governor recognizes that the state’s community college system is the backbone of higher education.”

Canepa sent a letter to San Mateo County Community College Board President Maurice Goodman last May 2, urging the Board to consider providing free tuition to all first-time, full-time students for two years. Currently, some students in the District benefit from the Promise Scholars Program which provides free tuition and other services for one year for a fraction of the District’s students. Canepa had suggested that San Mateo County should partner with the District to explore ways to fund the initiative.

“Until 1985, tuition was free at all 115 community colleges in the state but now costs nearly $1,400 a year for full-time students. This puts an undue burden on the Millennial generation, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area, who face the highest housing costs in California’s history,” Canepa said. “The stories about students sleeping in their cars and struggling to pay for food are heartbreaking. The resources exist to give these young adults a fair shot to get an education and thankfully Gov. Newsom realizes that.”

The California College Promise program became law in 2017 with the passage of Assembly Bill 19. The law was originally written to provide free tuition to first-time, full-time students who don’t receive the state’s tuition waiver for low-income students.