Tuition will be free for both credited and uncredited College of Marin students for the spring semester, the college said on Friday.

The tuition fee waiver is open to students who enroll through the new Clear Path program, the college said. The waiver does not include parking permit fees, textbook fees, or other fees, such as rush order transcripts.

Registration opens Friday for the term starting January 22 for weekend classes and January 24 for weekdays.

“We understand that many members of our university community may experience an additional financial burden as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” COM Chairman David Wain Coon said. “We want tuition to be one less thing they have to worry about for the spring semester.”

The board also approved a plan to eliminate previous student debt from March 2020 to November 2021 to bring back students who left COM in debt.

“Making it easier to remove barriers to educational opportunities is part of our job as directors,” said Chairman of the Board, Wanden Treanor.

“We hope that the cancellation of student debt and the payment of tuition fees for the spring will relieve some financial pressures and encourage those who have not been able to continue their studies to re-enroll.”

Tuition waivers and debt cancellations come as community colleges in California see their enrollments continue to decline due to the pandemic. The Los Angeles Times reported on Friday that community college enrollments have fallen 10.6% this year as more students choose to work instead of going to school due to financial pressures caused. by the pandemic.

“We are still monitoring registrations and, like almost all colleges and universities, our registrations have taken a hit during the pandemic,” COM spokeswoman Nicole Cruz said on Friday. “What concerns us most is supporting student success and the actions we can take to meet their needs.

COM registrations fell 8.4% in the spring and fell 6% this fall, compared to a year earlier, according to Cruz.

Cruz said tuition waivers and student debt cancellations are funded by the institutional COM portion of federal COVID-19 relief funding.

“The cost of debt cancellation is $ 520,000,” Cruz said in an email. “The overall estimate for tuition and fees is budgeted at $ 1.1 million.”

She said she expected other community colleges to work on similar plans.

“I know of similar programs at Modesto Junior College and in the Peralta district,” she said. “Some of the funds have to be spent on emergency student financial aid grants, so I imagine there are projects going on at other institutions as well.”

As part of the Clear Path program, the College of Marin will pay for up to 18 course units for the spring term. More information on es.marin.edu/clear-path-program.

In order to register for the spring term, the Collège du Marin requires that all students, employees and volunteers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. All students will be required to submit proof of vaccination as a condition of enrollment for the spring semester.

College officials are encouraging current and prospective students to submit proof of vaccination or request for exemption as soon as possible.