The San Mateo Community College District in California will double its tuition-free program and expand dual enrollment for local high school students with one-time funding its board approved last week.
The Board of Trustees approved a one-time boost of $6.75 million for the district’s Free Community College Strategic Initiative as part of a tentative $470.4 million budget. The new funding includes $3 million for the district’s Promise Scholars program. The program covers tuition and fees and provides money for textbooks for full-time students. The program currently supports 2,000 students. Additional funding will allow the district, which enrolls about 20,000 students, to expand program access to 4,000 students, said Aaron McVean, vice chancellor for educational services and planning for the district.
“What we’re trying to do is make community college free for as many students as possible,” McVean said. “If we had all the resources in the world, it would probably be free to everyone, but there are always going to be some constraints.”
About $2.5 million of the one-time funds has been earmarked for expansion of dual enrollment. Another $1.25 million will pay to expand the district’s open education resources and zero-cost textbook program.