Editorial: Gov. Newsom’s free community college plan won’t be as easy as it sounds

California’s community college system has already implemented reforms to improve its performance, including an overhaul of its student placement system and improved course and career guidance for incoming students. These changes are expected to improve completion rates for students seeking a two-year degree.

But far too many community college students are still struggling to transfer to four-year colleges and earn a bachelor’s degree. A big part of the problem is access to the California State University and the University of California.

In theory, qualified transfer students are guaranteed a slot in these institutions. In practice, only a few campuses have the space to take all applicants who qualify.

. . . Instead, he thinks the state should look at data from Oregon. Our neighbor to the north instituted a fee-free community college program similar to the one Newsom is considering, and Johnson said there’s been an increase in student enrollment but no remarkable increase in their degree completion rates.

Getting students to enter community college, it seems, is relatively easy. Getting them the education they’re hoping to receive will take more than a fee waiver.

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