A California bill that would make tuition more affordable for some low-income residents of Mexico to attend local community colleges in the state is one step away from becoming law.
The program would begin in fall 2024, become inoperative by July 2028, and be repealed by January 2029, unless it is renewed by legislators.
That equates to approximately 20,000 new skilled workers each year, Alvarez’s office said.
Mr. Alvarez continued that passing the bill would “allow these students to enter the local workforce, where they would contribute to San Diego County’s thriving economy and ensure that the region remains an international player for years to come.”
Students in the program would pay in-state tuition—which is $46 per credit—instead of the $346 per-credit fee for non-residents. Since a full-course load is between 12 and 15 credits per semester, annual tuition fees would amount to between $1,104 and $1,380, according to the analysis.
Additionally, in order to take effect, the governing board of the California Community Colleges must enter into a similar in-state tuition agreement with a university in Baja California, Mexico, to allow California residents to attend the school with residential tuition rates as well.
It received support from many regional education groups—such as California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office, Community College League of California, San Diego Community College District, as well as the Governor of Baja California—and no recorded opposition as of early September.
Assembly Bill 91 was passed in a 65–8 vote by the state Assembly in May and passed the Senate in a 33–6 vote in early September. The bill was sent on Sept. 15 to Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has until Oct. 14 to approve it.
The state’s 115 community colleges lost about 340,000 students from 2019 to 2022, according to enrollment data released by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.
Both the Los Angeles and San Diego community college districts saw a 25 percent enrollment drop after spring 2019, according to the Chancellor’s Office.
A spokesperson for the Chancellor’s Office told The Epoch Times in late 2022 that there were concerns about the schools’ ability to meet the needs of California's workforce and economy, and officials were working to boost enrollment by “re-imagining” financial aid packages, emergency grants, and scholarships.