Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Representing California’s 46th Congressional District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 14, 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Barb Solish, 202-226-8373, Barb.Solish@mail.house.gov
REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ LEADS CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATS URGING CALIFORNIA TO PARTICIPATE IN AMERICA’S COLLEGE PROMISE
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-46) sent a letter with 25 other California Members of Congress urging Governor Jerry Brown and California Community Colleges Chancellor Dr. Brice W. Harris to embrace President Obama’s recently announced America’s College Promise program that would make two years of community college free for students.
“More than ever our economy depends on the strength of our workforce – strength built upon access to education for all – and the President’s proposal is a significant step in the right direction,” said Rep. Sanchez. “However, the President’s plan also calls on the participation and partnership of our states. As California moves forward in investing in our community colleges, we encourage the Governor and Chancellor to consider the White House’s proposal as it continues to develop.”
Under the proposed program, a full-time community college student could save an average of $3,800 in tuition fees per year, opening the door to higher education to millions of students in California and across the nation. Although the proposed federal funding would cover seventy-five percent of the average cost of community college, states are expected to contribute the remaining funds to offer free tuition to eligible students.
Signees include Reps. Xavier Becerra, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Tony Cardenas, Barbara Lee, Susan A. Davis, Grace F. Napolitano, Janice Hahn, Judy Chu, Juan Vargas, Norma Torres, Mike Honda, Eric Swalwell, Julia Brownley, Anna G. Eshoo, Adam B. Schiff, Mark Takano, Sam Farr, John Garamendi, Doris O. Matsui, Karen Bass, Jared Huffman, Lois Capps, Zoe Lofgren, Ted W. Lieu and Mark DeSaulnier
January 14, 2015
The Honorable Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
Governor of California
California State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dr. Brice W. Harris
California Community Colleges
1102 Q Street
Sacramento, CA 95811
Dear Governor Brown and Chancellor Harris,
We write to you today to first thank you both for your outstanding leadership in investing and prioritizing our California Community College system. As the largest system of higher education in the nation, California has been paving the way in community college reform from creating a pilot program to offer baccalaureate degrees to enrolling over 15,000 new students within the last year. We commend you in your efforts in putting our California students first and setting an example across the country.
As you may know, President Obama has announced his new plan, America’s College Promise, making two years of community college free for students. Under the proposal, a full-time community college student could save almost $3,800 in tuition fees per year. This is a historic moment for our high school graduates as well as students who are not necessarily between the ages of 18-22 or full-time. This proposal would open the doors and potentially impact over two million students in California.
However, the President’s plan also calls on the participation and partnership of our states. Although the proposed federal funding would cover seventy-five percent of the average cost of community college, states are expected to contribute the remaining funds to offer free tuition to eligible students. As California moves forward in investing in our community colleges, we encourage you to consider the White House’s proposal as it continues to develop. It is critical that states like California push their congressional representatives to make the President’s plan into a reality.
Some of us remember the days when community college tuition fees were essentially free. We are now seeing more states like Tennessee and Illinois return to this, and we urge you to put California on that course. We understand the immense commitment this will mean for our state, but the education of our students and our future deserve no less. As members of the California Delegation, we look forward to working with your offices to open this opportunity to all our students and families across the state. More than ever our economy depends on the strength of our workforce – strength built upon access to education for all- and the President’s proposal is a significant step towards that direction.