This is not a joke! I repeat, this is not a joke! Los Angeles Mayor Erick Garcetti announced that all high school graduates from the Los Angeles Unified School District will be offered one free year of community college. That’s right, completely free! The city itself plans on financing the new program through fund-raising efforts and city funds and is planning initial costs to be around $3 million dollars, ultimately reducing financial barriers and providing financial assistance to lower socioeconomic students in the greater Los Angeles area. With current tuition rates climbing, greater student debt, and the push for colleges and universities to operate more like big businesses, this couldn’t come at a more opportune time. Finally! There is reprieve, at least for high school graduates in the Los Angels Unified School District that is.

So, what does this mean for other cities following suit? Well, with this new announcement it makes the city of Los Angeles the largest city in the United States to commit to this new goal of giving newly graduated high schoolers the opportunity to attend their first year of college absolutely free. However, does this mean all high school graduates? In the statement made by Los Angeles Mayor Erick Garcetti, the free year will be quote, “guaranteed to every hardworking student.” And that’s when my mind goes wild, what defines “hard working?” A GPA? A willingness to succeed? A letter of recommendation? What?

Whatever that measure is, it still doesn’t describe how the city plans to deal with the sudden influx of students that will be attending the area’s community college’s. And then there are more and more questions to answer. Will the city be financing new teaching and administrative jobs? Will the college be expanding the course catalogue to accommodate all the new students? Where will all these newly graduated seniors live, eat, study, party, and everything else that goes along with the college experience? There are many questions and logistics to answer, but I guess for the time-being we can at least bask in the warm happiness that comes with knowing that someone, somewhere cares about providing a college education our inner city youth, for FREE.

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