17 October 2023
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law last week permitting low-income Mexican students to pay the same cost as Californians to attend some community colleges.
The law starts next year and will run as a pilot, or test program, for five years. The program is open to Mexican students who live within 72 kilometers of the U.S. border in California.
In California, the Education Data Initiative says the average yearly cost of tuition at community colleges for Californians is $1,500. For out-of-state students, the yearly cost is nearly $10,000. It means a possible saving of more than $8,000 for some Mexican students under the program.
David Alvarez is a California state lawmaker who worked on the law. He said many Mexicans travel between the two countries to work or visit family. And the law will help make education readily available to prepare them for jobs.
Alvarez said in a statement that the program would help "prepare a more diverse population among our workforce."
Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California, is just 11 kilometers from the U.S. border with Mexico. The college's president Mark Sanchez said many students at the school split their time between the two countries.
"Without this pilot, we risk everything in terms of loss of talent," he told lawmakers at a hearing last June.
Students from Mexico who decide to go to Southwestern College will save about $7,000 based on the lower cost for Californians.
The law requires community colleges to report by 2028 on the attendance and the number of students receiving in-state tuition under the program.
In 2015, California passed a similar law that permitted students who lived close to its border with Nevada to attend Lake Tahoe Community College at in-state tuition.
I'm Dan Friedell.
Dan Friedell adapted this story for Learning English based on a report by the Associated Press.
Words in This Story
income –n. the amount of money a person, or family, earns from work
tuition–n. the cost of attending school
diverse–adj. relating to the number of different things in a group, such as the backgrounds and nationalities of students at a college
talent –n. an ability to do something well