San Mateo County Supervisors Support Bill to Reduce Tuition at Local Community Colleges | News

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The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voiced support for lower tuition at local community colleges.

Supervisors passed a resolution supporting Senate Bill 893, introduced by Sen. Josh Becker, D-San Mateo. If passed by the state senate and assembly, the bill would allow the San Mateo County Community College District to reduce tuition for needy students.

The bill would give the district the ability to waive or reduce tuition fees and use some local funds to offset other student costs.

Currently, the state required tuition rate is $46 per unit. In addition to tuition, rental, food, book, technology and other living costs can add up to more than $15,000 for community college students, according to a staff report.

Supervisor David Canepa said the bill could allow the district to address inequities in the county by making college more accessible.

“San Mateo County as a whole is economically prosperous compared to other areas of the state. However, there are still significant socioeconomic and educational gaps within the county,” Canepa said.

The bill also could allow the district to expand its Promise Scholars program, which provides financial assistance to help cover food, transportation, tuition, supplies and other college costs for local students.

Lower tuition and costs could also help boost enrollment, according to district board member John Pimentel. Pimentel noted that community colleges in the county have seen declining enrollment over the past decade, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The San Mateo County Community College District has seen enrollment decline nearly 40% over the past decade, Pimentel said.

Pimentel also thanked the County Board of Supervisors for supporting the district’s Promise Scholars program by allocating $2 million in Measure K funds to the program last September.

Founded in 1922, the district’s three colleges — Cañada College, College of San Mateo, and Skyline College — enroll approximately 45,000 students each year.

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