California community colleges offering affordability, other incentives to attract students to enroll

Leticia Juarez Image
Thursday, August 12, 2021
CA community colleges offering affordability to attract students
Enrollment is down at California's community colleges. But many are offering incentives like low tuition and even free textbooks to attract students.

California's community colleges are preparing to welcome back students to its campuses after closing its doors for nearly a year due to COVID-19.

Los Angeles Valley College was among nine community colleges to host an enrollment fair in the hopes of attracting more students.

"Registration is down, we've seen that happen statewide and locally, nationally. Enrollments are down for California community colleges so this is a way to signal our doors are open," said Dr. Francisco Rodriguez, chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District.

They are open for business and offering students a chance to get a higher education for much less than they would expect. California has the least expensive in-state community college tuition at about $1,300 according to, and under the state's Promise program some students can qualify to have their tuition waived entirely.

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"Affordability was a big thing when deciding where I want to go to college," said Julian Jercan.

"LAVC through the Promise program has given me the opportunity to save a lot of money while pursing what I want to do later in life," said Jercan, who is enrolling at Los Angeles Valley College as a freshman.

In the last 20 years, the cost of tuition at the average community college in the U.S. has risen 46%, which is less than the 76% rise among public universities, according to

"It incentivizes students and families to really look at community college," said Delmy Spencer, vice president of student affairs at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa.

Spencer said the college is offering incentives this year to attract more students to enroll.

"We are going to be paying for the students' books for the fall semester and the spring semester. If they take more than nine units, we'll be able to also give them up to $1,000 in aid," she said.

Beyond affordability, a community college can help students reach their future goals.

"I feel like I can get an associates degree in medical studies here as a medical assistant and then afterwards I can transfer to a university. I am considering something like CSUN," said student Eliana Levy.

California is also an affordable option for out-of-state community college students with an average tuition of a little over $7,000. That's much lower when you compare it to Tennessee's out-of-state tuition cost, which is more than $17,000.

Grace Manthey contributed to this report.

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