LA Community College District receives $1-million federal grant to help students ride free with Metro’s GoPass

United States Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) and Metro today announced that LACCD has secured a $1-million grant from Congress to extend Metro’s GoPass Program through the 2022-’23 academic year for the 21 community colleges in L.A. County.

The program provides free transit on Metro and 13 other agencies for students at participating K-14 schools.

With high gas prices and escalating car and insurance costs, driving to campus is simply not an option for many students. Before the launch of Metro’s GoPass program, LACCD students were paying $160 or more per semester for a Metro U-Pass, which was unaffordable to many community college students. Free public transit has eliminated one of the major obstacles faced by LACCD students and made it easier for students to return to in-person instruction this fall.

Approximately one-quarter of students at LACCD reported regularly using public transit to attend class before COVID-19, with their top concern being price — LACCD serves a student body that is 68 percent low-income. Providing free transit for a year has a meaningful impact on family budgets. Fareless transit makes it easier for students to take advantage of on-campus amenities and student services.

Metro’s GoPass for K-14 students is increasingly popular since its official launch in 2021. Metro has already added 20 new school districts for Year 2 and is in the process of adding 10 more. Metro seeks to double participation in the program over the next year to help more students. Toward that goal, earlier this month Metro partnered with Glendale Community College to make the program available to its 15,000 community college students.

For more information about Metro’s GoPass Fareless Pass Program, please visit www.metro.net/gopass.

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“Lack of transportation is one of the leading barriers for students seeking to complete their education, and that’s particularly true in large metropolitan areas like Los Angeles,” said Senator Feinstein. “That’s why this program, which will enable up to 500,000 community college students across L.A. County to apply for the GoPass Program, is so important. I was pleased to support this funding and will continue advocating for funding that will allow students throughout California to advance their education.”

“As a longtime community college educator, I believe that students shouldn’t have to make the tough choice between paying for transportation or buying breakfast,” said Trustee Andra Hoffman. “I grew up in the San Fernando Valley and rode the bus all around Los Angeles to get to school and work. I am proud to be part of the solution with the GoPass program and look forward to continuing to make it easier for all students to be able to safely travel to school and work. Access to affordable and reliable transportation should be a right for all students.”

“I would like to personally thank U.S. Senator Feinstein for her help securing this critically important grant funding to extend LACCD’s participation in Metro’s GoPass Program,” said Glendale City Council Member and Metro Board Chair Ara J. Najarian. “Now more community college students can enjoy free transit on Metro – not just to school, but to any other destination these students want or need to travel to in our county. It’s a truly unlimited pass program that I know will improve students’ lives and save them significant sums of money in transportation costs.”

“We are pleased to have this program extended for another year,” said LACCD Chancellor Francisco C. Rodriguez, Ph.D. “Everything we do at LACCD is through an equity-first lens, and fareless transit directly enables more students to access higher education. As we return to more in-person classes and services on campus, this program will be a true lifeline for accelerating student success.”

“The costs of transportation should never stand between our students and opportunity,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Our community colleges are gateways to prosperity for Angelenos in every zip code – and thanks to this grant from Senator Feinstein, Metro can keep doing its part to make sure nothing keeps our students from chasing their dreams.”

“We have set an aggressive goal to double the number of students participating in GoPass because we know it can make such a positive difference in their academic and economic success,” said Stephanie Wiggins, CEO of Metro. “This grant helps ease a financial barrier for hundreds of thousands of students and gives them more freedom to pursue jobs, opportunity and recreation. I encourage all LACCD students to take advantage of our free GoPass program today!”

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