LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Mayor Eric Garcetti Thursday planned to discuss a robust and thriving Los Angeles when he made his annual "State of the City" address.
He also proposed a free year of tuition for any graduate of the LAUSD.
It was the biggest initiative in the mayor's speech.
CBS's Peter Daut didn't have to look far to find students in favor of the plan. He went to LA Harbor College where he found many in support.
For community college student Paul Olivares, the announcement was a welcome surprise,
"It seems like this is the right way to go," said Olivares.
Garcetti announced the city will commit to giving every graduate of the LAUSD one free year of community college.
"Tonight, Los Angeles will become the largest city in the nation to commit ourselves to a new goal," Garcetti said.
The mayor's office says the program will cost roughly $3-million annually -- donated from private companies and charities. The public-private partnership will be run by the Community College District, and is set to begin at the nine campuses next year for 7,000 students.
"Having a one-year cushion to find out what we really want to do can benefit us as students," said David Perez, a community college student.
"I wish this was a thing for me two years ago when I graduated high school," said Marisa Olarra.
Roughly 80 percent of LAUSD students meet the federal definition of living in poverty. And research shows that family income level may be the top barrier in preventing students from attending college.
That's why Olivares says today's announcement could encourage more students to focus on their future.
"If people can't pay for college, they just won't go and they'll try to enter the workforce and probably end up working at McDonald's," he said.
The superintendent for the LAUSD released a statement tonight applauding the announcement. She says it sends a powerful message that all hardworking students deserve a college education without taking on crippling student debt.
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