Proposal could allow Tijuana college students to pay in-state community college tuition

A new bill could soon help low-income students in Mexico who live within 45 miles of the border

Original article by Regina Yurrita can be found at this link

SAN DIEGO — Thousands of Tijuana students cross the border daily just to attend a San Diego college, but unfortunately many aspiring students in Baja California can’t afford higher education because of out-of-state tuition.

“There’s a lot of people who are very smart, they have the right mindset, just not the right resources,” said 22-year-old Jorge Martinez from Tijuana, who started his early education in San Diego, before moving back to Mexico.

Martinez had hoped to come back to San Diego for college, but the weight of trying to provide for his family was bigger than the weight of his backpack.

“I was a student and I couldn’t afford school anymore, I was into aerospace engineering and I had to get out. Which is why I’m working right now. I am a dishwasher,” said Martinez.

A new bill introduced by Assemblymember David Alvarez, who oversees the 80th District, could soon help low-income students in Mexico who live within 45 miles of the border.

If the legislation is approved, low income Tijuana college students who hope to attend community college in San Diego, would only have to pay in-state tuition.

“We live in a very unique region where 100,000 people cross everyday, this means 10,000 families who happen to live in Tijuana, who live on the other side of the border but are still San Diegans,” said Alvarez.

Alvarez intends to expand affordable access to binational students.

He also says it could make a significant contribution to the region’s binational workforce and economy.

“Obviously we attract talent that we can then keep locally in our region. Both in San Diego and Tijuana because we know when we keep our talent locally our economy thrives better when we have that talent and the people who can fill those jobs of the future,” said Alvarez.

The latest U.S. College Statistics say on average international students pay over $8,000 per semester for community college tuition, compared to in-state students who pay about half of that.

The bill already has the support of Southwestern San Diego College, if passed, it will give access to 200 Tijuana students per year.

The bill still needs to be reviewed by education committees before it goes up for a full vote at the state capitol.


Photo by Priscilla Du Preez