Not-so-free college: The limits of California’s Promise program

The problem, according to Youngblood, is who isn’t eligible: part-time students, who make up more than two thirds of the community college population. While research shows students taking 12 units or more per semester are more likely to earn a degree or certificate, Youngblood says many low-income students are simply too busy working to handle a full-time course load.

And with rent, food, bus fare or car costs, and hundreds of dollars out of pocket every semester for textbooks, she said, students typically need those paychecks.

“I think a lot of times legislators are disconnected from what students actually endure.” she said. “It sounds good, but for a lot of people, especially students of color, it’s unrealistic.”

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