Free college: CA assembly member calls for 2 years of free community college

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A California assembly member introduced legislation Tuesday that would provide two years of free community college for students.

A California assembly member introduced legislation Tuesday that would provide two years of free community college for students.

Assembly Member Miguel Santiago, who represents District 53 in Los Angeles, introduced AB 2. The legislation, which Santiago authored, would waive fees for two years of community college.

AB 2 calls for community colleges to to waive two years of tuition for first-time community college students who are enrolled at the college full time. You can read the full text of AB 2 here.

"Every student that comes through a community college should at least have the opportunity to earn their associate's degree. It takes two years...but their travel through LACCD or any other community college ought to lead somewhere and it ought to be a public school," Santiago said at a press conference Tuesday.

"In the fight against income and equality, there is no bigger tool that we have than education, period," he added. "Education is the only way to uplift communities from poverty and to grow a stronger middle class in America. And in California, we intend to start here with AB 2."

MORE: LBUSD students eligible for 2 years of tuition-free college at Long Beach City College

Santiago said an education shouldn't cost people their life savings, and an education shouldn't cost people an economic hardship.

"We got a system here in California where we tell people an education will help you improve your quality of life. But that education burdens people for the rest of their life. It doesn't make sense," Santiago said.

The assembly member reflected on what AB 2 means to him personally.

"If a community college had not given me that chance, I would have never been able to go to UCLA. I would not be standing here," he said.

Mayor Eric Garcetti also spoke at the event.

"We need AB 2, two years of free community, two years of dreams, two years of free opportunity to work hard and to find what your goals are," the mayor said.

Last year, lawmakers passed a bill that made the first year of community college free for all first-time, full-time students.
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