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  Westly: California should pay for a community college degree
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ContributorPatrick 
Last EditedPatrick  Jan 30, 2006 08:24pm
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MediaNewspaper - San Francisco Chronicle
News DateTuesday, January 31, 2006 02:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionState Controller Steve Westly said Monday that every Californian is entitled to free community college — and the state can afford to pay for it.

Westly, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, proposed to pay tuition for students who successfully complete a community college degree. He said the proposal would cost $100 million to $200 million a year, money he said the state should already be paying community colleges.

The former eBay executive and millionaire announced his proposal at the annual legislative conference of the Community College League of California in Sacramento Monday.

"Community colleges are the most important part of the higher education system," he told the group. "Too often, they're also the most neglected."

Westly said the cost of attending the state's 109 community colleges has increased 136 percent in the last three years, to about $800 a year for a full courseload. Attendance has meanwhile lagged, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office.
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