San Diego launches free community college program

The San Diego Community College District announced Wednesday that it plans to cover the cost of college for over 200 students, costing local taxpayers at least $215,000 annually.

“The free community college movement has officially arrived in San Diego with the selection of the first students to participate in the San Diego Promise,” a Wednesday press release stated. “A pilot program of the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD), the San Diego Promise will cover the costs of enrollment fees and provide book grants for 201 incoming freshmen at City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges during the 2016-17 academic year.”

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The free tuition program will also pay for textbooks for the 201 incoming freshmen, which directors of the program estimated to amount to $1000 annually.

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“In spite of relatively low enrollment fees, for many students the cost of attending community college can be daunting. Books alone can cost up to $1,000 annually,” the release continues before remarking on the soaring costs of living expenses, noting that the rising prices for housing, food, and transportation make college unaffordable for many students.

In fact, a recent reportout of the Brookings Institute (a left-leaning think based out of D.C.) shows that students actually spend more on living expenses than they do on base tuition rates, raising questions about the effectiveness of free college proposals.

[RELATED: Leftist think tank claims free college tuition would benefit the rich more than the poor]

“The non-tuition costs of attending college, including living expenses, are larger than the costs of tuition and fees for most students,” the report explains, adding that “free college, which does not address these expenses, leaves families from the bottom half of the income distribution with nearly $18 billion in annual out-of-pocket college costs that would not be covered by existing federal, state, and institutional grant programs.”

Additionally, New York City’s nonpartisan budget agency recently estimated that applying President Obama’s free community college proposal to just the City Universities of New York (CUNY) system would cost between $138 million and $232 million annually.

[RELATED: Obama announces plan to make community college free]

Nonetheless, San Diego is set to roll out its free college plan starting with the upcoming academic year.

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