FRESNO, Calif. -- First time Community College students can now look forward to discounted, even free classes for their first year, thanks to a bill signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.
It is a push to make California's Community College system more enticing to first-year students.
Friday Gov. Brown signed AB-19 into law. The California College Promise Program waives course fees for the first year at a JC.
"That will help a lot especially if they don't work. It's a big help," said Irvin Herrera.
First year Jessica Palma has four siblings that plan to attend or are attending community college. Much like the case of many students the fee waiver means one less obstacle in the way of higher education.
"It'll give them opportunities to come to college and start careers they want, that will be a lot for my dad to take that off his plate," said Palma.
With 114 community colleges throughout California more than half of the system's 2.3 million students already receive other financial aid. An estimated 19,000 students would be eligible for the fee waiver costing the state roughly $31 million annually.
For students in the Valley there is even more incentive. Fresno City College, State Center College and Reedley College were already part of the Central Valley promise that granted 1.5 million dollars to make 1st semester tuition free.
"Now this will give us an opportunity to go back to the state and determine how we can add value to that. So either well do something with textbooks or perhaps go into the second year," said Fresno City College President Dr. Carole Goldsmith.
The likelihood of more students applying to community college calls into question how admission will be impacted.
Doctor Goldsmith says the hope is to not turn any students away as this will promote more full-time course loads.
School districts across the Valley are hopping on board some even helping high school seniors apply for the fee waiver.
Fresno Unified School District's Executive Director Miguel Arias said, "We have a goal of making sure our kids are college and career ready so they have a wide variety of options upon graduation."
First time Community College students can now look forward to discounted, even free classes for their first year.
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