Sanders praises San Francisco college's free tuition program

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee 2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states After Florida school shooting, vows for change but no clear path forward MORE (I-Vt.) commended the City College of San Francisco (CSSF) on Friday for its decision to provide free tuition for undergraduate students, calling the program "a model for the United States of America," the San Francisco Examiner reports. 

Sanders praised the new Free City College program spearheaded by San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim in an address to the school's students and faculty, saying that soon communities all over the country would be looking to emulate San Francisco.  

CSSF's free tuition program is reportedly funded through a new real-estate transfer tax. 

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"CSSF has shown that when people get involved politically, it makes a difference,” Sanders said. “Our job is to put together an agenda that speaks to needs of working people [and] to elect officials that have the guts to fight and implement that agenda. You have increased participant enrollment for San Francisco residents by 51 percent.”

The self-described Democratic socialist senator advocated for free college tuition in his 2016 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, along with calls for a universal single-payer health-care system.

Rhode Island passed legislation in August to become the fourth state to offer free community college for state residents, joining New York, Oregon and Tennessee.

CSSF has reportedly seen a massive increase in its enrollment since implementing the program, with more than 6,450 new students who have signed up to take classes for credit in the new semester, which began in August. 

Sanders said it is an "international embarrassment" that people "who want higher education and are unable to get it" because "their family lacks the money," he said at the event. "Instead of denying people what they are entitled to, you are giving people exactly what they need."