ASM Alvarez Introduces Bi-National Tuition Exemption Pilot Program for Local Community Colleges

Exterior of U.S. Customs and Border Protection building in San Ysidro
Assembly Bill 91 will expand educational opportunities for Baja California students and increase our regional workforce.

Assemblymember David Alvarez (D-San Diego) has introduced his first bill, Assembly Bill 91 (AB 91), which will allow low-income students who reside within 45 miles from the California-Mexico border to attend local community colleges.

“We live in a dynamic border region where we need to educate more students to fill the jobs required for growth” said Assemblymember Alvarez. “This bill will allow low-income residents who live close to the border to attend local community colleges.”

According to the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, San Diego must double the amount of people with post-secondary education by 2030 to meet the demands of the local economy. That equates to approximately 20,000 new skilled workers each year.

“Southwestern College is the cornerstone for affordable and accessible higher education opportunities in the South County” said Southwestern College Superintendent/President Dr. Mark Sanchez. “Expanding affordable access to low-income, binational students will make a significant contribution to our region’s binational workforce and economy.”

If approved, students would be able to attend community colleges at the in-state tuition rate of $46 per unit. The tuition for international students at Southwestern College is $291 per unit.

AB 91 is supported by the San Diego and Imperial Valley Counties Community College Association (SDICCCA), which includes Southwestern College.

Other Media Coverage

Alvarez and Sanchez co-wrote an opinion piece for the San Diego Union-Tribune that ran Feb. 2. It outlined the benefits to the Cali-Baja economy.

The Los Angeles Times highlighted Southwestern College student Abril Hernandez in its Feb. 6 story on the proposed legislation.

Follow the link to track the bill through the legislative process.