The bill, authored by Democratic Assembly members Miguel Santiago of Los Angeles, David Chiu of San Francisco and Kevin McCarty of Sacramento, passed the state legislature with bipartisan support.
The legislation is intended to address both the shortage of college-educated workers and declining community college enrollment by expanding affordable access to higher education.
“In 2025, California will face an estimated shortage of one million college-educated workers needed to sustain the state’s workforce,” said Santiago. “This bill isn’t about voting and polling numbers. When you talk to most reasonable people, whether it be a CEO or leader of any firm, some sort program leader, they want a more skilled workforce. It just makes economic sense.”
Lawmakers hope the bill also will attract more students to community college and will encourage them to pursue higher education.
“We are delighted that California has made the first year of community college free,” said Dr. Martha J. Kanter, the Executive Director of the College Promise Campaign. “By signing the California Promise bill into law, Gov. Jerry Brown is providing much-needed support for the state’s estimated 2.1 million community college students. Now more students in the Golden State who believed higher education was beyond their means will pursue college,” she said.
Some details of the bill, including funding allocations, must still be worked out, lawmakers said.
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