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Mesa mayor unveils plan for free community college tuition

PHOENIX – Mesa Mayor John Giles unveiled a plan Tuesday to make higher education more affordable in Arizona’s third-largest city.

The East Valley suburb has been studying the issue for the past year and received recommendations last week for starting the Mesa College Promise campaign.

“The Mesa College Promise means free tuition at community college for eligible students graduating from local high schools,” Giles said during his State of the City address.

Before the speech, Giles appeared on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona Morning News and said the program will be launched at Mesa Community College.

“If you’re a Mesa high school kid, you can plan on two years of community college education,” he said.

Giles said the program won’t require a tax increase. The cost will be shared by the city of around 500,000 residents and its business and education community.

He said during his address nearly half of the funding for the campaign’s first two years already has been raised.

“This is kids that go through the process of applying for financial aid in order to get out of the registrar’s office at a community college there’s usually a small gap after they get what they’re entitled to,” he told Arizona’s Morning News.

“So that’s an opportunity for the community to and say, ‘Hey, if you’re one of our high school kids, don’t worry about going to a community college for two years.’”

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