SACRAMENTO -- Governor Gavin Newsom visited a class of first-year Cosumnes River College students who expected to be getting an introduction to political science on Tuesday.
Instead, students were able to speak with Newsom on topics like DACA, climate change and high interest rates.
The governor came to CRC to promote a program allowing students to essentially receive free community college.
"And I recognize 'free' does not include all of the costs of attendance, but on the tuition side, we hope this changes people’s mindsets of what’s possible for themselves," Newsom said.
Speaking outside the financial aid office, Newsom celebrated the program, which provides grants to cover two years of two-year college tuition for full-time, first-time students.
Ainsley Beckman, a recent Inderkum High School graduate, says the free tuition is a big relief to her family.
"I just had one sister graduate from college and another one a private university right now. So, it’s definitely helping out my family a ton too so we can save up a little more before I transfer out," Beckman said.
CRC President Edward Bush says before the promise of free tuition, less than half of the incoming freshman were taking 12 or more class units. Now, 60% of students are full-time and the amount of students taking more than a full-time course load has doubled.
"We are seeing some immediate impacts not only in terms of the number of bodies, new students coming to the institution, but the amount of units that they’re taking once they get here," Bush said. "And we know that has huge implications on their time to completion."
Governor Newsom says in the future he would like to offer grants that offset the other costs of college such as room and board, and transportation.