A new law will allow some Mexican residents living near the California border to pay in-state tuition rates at certain community colleges in the state.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the legislation into law Friday, allowing the five-year program to launch next year.
Modeled in part by a decades-old law in Texas and an existing law for Nevada students near California to attend Lake Tahoe Community College, the program allows low-income Mexican residents who live within 45 miles of the California-Mexico border to pay in-state tuition at one of eight participating community colleges in Southern California.
Each of the colleges can award the “nonresident free exemption” to 150 students who meet all of the requirements.
“This pilot program can unlock a significant untapped resource to prepare a more diverse population among our workforce,” California Assemblymember David Alvarez, who authored the proposal, said in a statement.
Alvarez said Southern California and Northern Baja California operate as one "megaregion," with over 170,000 people crossing the international border daily for work, school or leisure.
He believes the new law will “address the demand for skilled workers by reducing the barrier of high tuition expenses for low-income students.”
Participating community college boards will be required to submit a report to lawmakers by 2028 to show the attendance rate and demographics of students who received in-state tuition rates under the new program.
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