Outside Laney College. September 1, 2020. Credit: Pete Rosos

Laney College announced a new program on Wednesday called “Fall is Free,” granting students free tuition and other resources for the 2022 fall semester. The program is available thanks to an Emergency Relief Fund grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The community college in Oakland, located just a block away from the Lake Merrit BART station, initiated the program to ease the burden on students who’ve faced financial setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including some who’ve had to put their college educations on hold entirely.

Any student enrolled for the fall semester (except international students) prior to classes beginning on August 22 will be eligible, regardless of the number of classes or units they’re enrolled in. This includes returning students, new students, and those who qualify for the California nonresident tuition exemption, commonly known as AB 540.

Besides the free tuition, students will receive free AC Transit bus passes, health services, and books (if acquired at the Laney bookstore), among other resources.

New and returning students must enroll and complete a FAFSA application to qualify. Those who don’t qualify for financial aid are also eligible for free tuition.

Laney College will be hosting information sessions for students on August 10, 11, 12, 15, and 16 at 12 p.m. with additional evening sessions at 6 p.m. on August 10 and 11. More information about the sessions can be found on the website.

More info

  1. “Fall is Free” website
  2. “Fall is Free” FAQs
  3. Fall is Free help desk at (510) 255-3507, open Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Or, Tuesdays, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Azucena Rasilla is a bilingual journalist from East Oakland reporting in Spanish and in English, and a longtime reporter on Oakland arts, culture and community. As an independent local journalist, she has reported for KQED Arts, The Bold Italic, Zora and The San Francisco Chronicle. She was a writer and social media editor for the East Bay Express, helping readers navigate Oakland’s rich artistic and creative landscapes through a wide range of innovative digital approaches.