Assembly Bill 91 – Exempts Nonresident Students From The Nonresident Tuition Fee After They Meet Certain Criteria And Apply To Attend A Specified Community College Districts Near The California-Mexico Border

CATEGORY: Public Education Matters
CLIENT TYPE: Public Education
DATE: Dec 06, 2023

Existing law requires that community college districts admit nonresident students and charge them nonresident tuition fee unless an exemption applies.  Currently, nonresidents who are both citizens and residents of a foreign country who demonstrate a financial need are exempt from paying the nonresident tuition fee.

AB 91 amends existing law to provide for an additional exemption from the nonresident tuition fee if a low-income student meets the following criteria:

  • Is a nonresident, low-income student who is a resident of Mexico; and
  • Registers for lower division courses at Cuyamaca College, Grossmont College, Imperial Valley College, MiraCosta College, Palomar College, San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College, San Diego Miramar College, or Southwestern College; and
  • Has residence within 45 miles of the California-Mexico border for at least one year immediately before seeking the fee exemption.

This bill does not become operative unless the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges enters into an attendance agreement that operates reciprocity rights to California residents attending a university in the State of Baja California that reasonably conforms to the benefits conferred upon residents of Mexico.

For the listed colleges to use this exemption, the governing board of the community college must:

  • Adopt a uniform policy to determine a student’s residence classification;
  • Establish procedures for an appeal and review of the residence classification; and
  • Determine whether a student is low income.

As a condition of this exemption, the governing boards of the colleges that choose to use this exemption must collaborate to ensure the adoption of a uniform policy.  The governing boards that choose to use this exemption are required to jointly submit a report to the Legislature that includes, but is not limited to, the demographics, attendance rate, and class completion rate of nonresident students who receive the exemption on or before January 1, 2028.

The bill authorizes the attendance of nonresident students who receive this exemption to be reported as resident full-time equivalent students (FTES) for state apportionment purposes. Each community college using this exemption cannot exempt more than 150 FTES in any academic year.  Additionally, any students exempt under this exemption do not count against the existing exemption for both citizens and residents of a foreign country who demonstrate a financial need to be exempt from the nonresident tuition fee.

This bill becomes inoperative on July 1, 2028, and is repealed on January 1, 2029.

(AB 91 amends, repeals and adds Section 76140 to the Education Code.)

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