Jill Biden proposes tuition-free community college education

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There is a push in this country to make community colleges free for all students.

On Wednesday, the vice president's wife was in the Silicon Valley to promote a tuition-free education while City College of San Francisco is one step closer to actually achieving that.

Even though tuition is relatively low at City College of San Francisco, many students have to work in order to pay for the fees. Now, supporters like Jill Biden, M.D., say let's scratch the K-12 education system and make it education free for all from K-14.

During a gathering to talk about funding community colleges, Biden insisted on shaking everyone's hand.

Business and community college leaders who attended heard her push for President Barack Obama's initiative that would guarantee that the first two years of community college be free. "It's all about jobs and it's all about having the best educated workforce in the world," Biden said.

The federal government would fund three quarters of it and states would pay the rest.

White House officials say an estimated nine million full time community college students could save an average of $3,800 in tuition per year.

Biden says an educated work force would contribute more in taxes. "Tennessee just recently made community college free and I say if Tennessee can do it, San Francisco can do it," City College of San Francisco Trustee Amy Bacharach said.

San Francisco wants to earmark the funds for City College of San Francisco.

The money would come from an increase in the real estate transfer tax for properties sold at $5 million and above. "This tax according to the controller's office is estimated to generate on average $44 million a year," San Francisco Board of Supervisor Jane Kim said.

Any extra money from that tax would go to help low income students cover other expenses. "We know tuition is not the only barrier to school. In fact, we hear often from students that even with the fees waived we can't afford the books and transportation," Kim said.

Residents will have a chance to vote on it in November.
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