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San Diego community college students get federal help for free textbooks

This summer, inflation has raised prices on just about everything, including school textbooks. But, many San Diego community college students are now getting some relief. KPBS Education Reporter M.G. Perez tells us why.

This summer, inflation has raised prices on just about everything including school textbooks.

Thousands of San Diego community college students are getting some relief because of a $975,000 federal grant.

Wednesday, Rep. Scott Peters (D-52) delivered a ceremonial check during a press conference at Miramar College.

The funding was appropriated in the 2022 fiscal year federal budget for community projects to help people who need it most. Peters said he sought the grant to create more classes that offer free textbooks and online resources to students in his district.

That includes 60,000 students who attend Miramar College and City and Mesa College.

“Investments like the one we celebrate today help provide a better-trained workforce for San Diego’s future,” he said. “I have to point out that’s extremely important in this time of higher inflation, because one of the drivers of this inflation is that we can’t get people to fill these jobs.”

The grant will expand previous projects from faculty, staff, and the bookstore to develop zero-cost textbook courses.

“The cost of buying textbooks can often be more than our students are paying to take classes at our colleges,” said Carlos O. Cortez, chancellor of the San Diego Community College District. “Offering more zero-textbook-cost classes is part of our district’s commitment to making sure all students have access to education.”

Emily Smith is a Miramar College student with the task force that worked to get the congressman’s attention and the federal money.

She told KPBS News, “When you have zero-cost textbooks in a classroom, it just makes accessibility to education so much more affordable. You can go back to college easier. Continue in college easier and you can graduate easier.”