SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The opportunity provided by free tuition for SF residents at City College of San Francisco has not surprisingly created a sizable spike in enrollment.
The number of students has jumped nearly 24 percent over last year.
Fifth-year City College student and participant in the Free City program Rachel Amaya told KPIX 5 the changes this semester are obvious.
“Longer lines, longer book lines, people waiting to get into class more. Yeah, I see a lot,” said Amaya.
The program offers California resident students who live in San Francisco free tuition and they’ve turned out in droves to claim it.
“With 4,000 more students than last year, there have to be some growing pains,” said City College Chancellor Mark Rocha. “You can look around and see the parking issue. We’re trying to accommodate every car we can.”
The $5.4 million program is funded by San Francisco’s luxury property tax. So far, it’s under budget, but it doesn’t come without critics.
The college dropped its initial plan to require students to maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA to go to avoid paying tuition.
When asked what the thought process behind not having a mandatory minimum GPA to keep Free City,” Rocha replied, “The goal was accessibility. Accountability is built into our instructional programs.”
Chancellor Rocha said the Free City program is a work in progress and that this first semester will be a learning experience for administration as well.
Policy changes could be in store once they have a better feel for how it all works.
Until then, students say the benefits of the program are worth the wait in longer lines.
“Now there’s free college. There’s more people looking to get an education and get better jobs and I think City College is doing that,” said Amaya.