Free college for a free Santa Barbara

Our Mission:

College Affordability for Santa Barbara County.

We need urgent reinvestment in basic needs programs to address student homelessness and hunger. We are calling for Santa Barbara County leaders to address the college affordability crisis at our public colleges and universities.


Santa Barbara County students are in crisis. Responsible cannabis cultivation can be a solution.

For decades, Santa Barbara County’s public colleges and universities were free and open to all. But today, college students in Santa Barbara County face skyrocketing tuition, student loan debt, and even campus hunger and homelesssness. The driving factor behind all of it is cutting public funding from our institutions of higher education. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can give every Santa Barbara County student a chance with the tax revenue from responsible cannabis cultivation.


Crisis Facts


Nearly 1 in 5 California Community College students experienced homelessness.

According to a survey of nearly 40,000 California Community College students across 57 campuses, 19 percent of respondents were homeless in the previous year.

Half of California Community College Students Experienced Food Insecurity in the past 30 days.

The #RealCollege survey also found that 50 percent of respondents were food insecure in the previous 30 days. In a separate survey, out of more than 250,000 University of California students, 42% identified as food insecure in a 2016 Global Food Initiative report. Students who report having lower food security also reported having lower GPAs (3.1) than students who are confident in their food security (3.4). 

University of California tuition has jumped 86 percent since 2008 alone.

Students who attend the University of California have experienced tuition hikes year after year—putting college increasingly out of reach

The Crisis in Our Backyard

"As an independent student, my second year pushed me to me limit. Not having consistent access to food made working and studying for school stressful. I saw the difference in my studies and output once I had access to CalFresh. However, no one should have to use CalFresh to go to college.

-Ashriful Dulla, UCSB Class of 2019

Major in Philosophy


“Being food insecure isn’t only about not knowing where my next meal is coming from. I’m tired all the time because I don’t get the nutrition I need so . I’m stressed out because I try to stretch one meal into three. I can’t focus on school to the best of my ability.

No one should struggle with food insecurity.”

-Justice Dumalo, UCSB Associated Students Senator


“There were many times when I had food insecurity because there would always be an issue with my CalFresh. Many times I would have sleep for dinner or I would try to find events at my school with free food. Once, I relied on free food so much that I ended up gorging myself on the unhealthy options free events provide- processed foods high in sodium and sugar with low nutritional value.

I hope we can do something to make nutritious food more available to students.”

-Patxy Cordova, UCSB Class of 2019

Double Major in Spanish and Political Science


“ My friends are skipping meals to buy books. Student loan debt is crippling our ability to move out, find a steady job, and have our piece of the American Dream.

We need a reinvestment in higher education now.”

- Taylor Tungasmita, San Jose State

Biological Sciences Candidate

Our Solution


Cannabis revenue can put college within reach for everyone in Santa Barbara County.

Legal cannabis cultivation is a reliable, sustainable, and effective solution to the college affordability crisis. Cannabis cultivation is expected to produce around $25 million in tax revenue each year for Santa Barbara County. This revenue can and should be used to address the pressing issue of college affordability in our community by funding programs that support basic needs services for students. For example, we could use local cannabis tax revenue to cover non-tuition college costs such as books, housing, food, and transportation.


The County Supervisors can allocate cannabis revenue for college affordability initiatives.

During the July 9th Supervisors’ meeting, SB County Council said that the county can spend the cannabis tax fund on social needs. We at Free SB know that the college affordability crisis in the form of non-tuition costs of enrollment is a social need that merits immediate action from SB County Supervisors.

We will come together as a community to produce a proposal that addresses our community’s social need to address the problems of student homelessness, food insecurity, and other non-tuition burdens of earning a degree.


Anti-cannabis prohibitionists are trying to ban cannabis in the county.

The crackdown on cannabis cultivators in Santa Barbara County is driven by people who want to criminalize cannabis cultivation and use. Their regressive views don’t represent the majority of Santa Barbara voters, but the folks advocating to end legal cannabis do have money and influence where it counts. As students, we recognize that re-criminalizing marijuana would be a return to the failed war on drugs. We deserve better than the racist waste of taxpayer dollars to outlaw marijuana, and we believe there has to be a better way. That’s what inspired our campaign to leverage the revenue from cannabis cultivation for a cause that reflects our values.

As one of the only new sources of tax revenue in the county, cannabis can and should be used to address a real community crisis: student homelessness and hunger.


Get Involved

From now until late September, Free SB will build support behind our college affordability movement by outreaching to community partners and creating a proposal to basic needs programs through cannabis tax revenue.

You can help. Like us on Facebook, submit your idea for how county funding can be used to support students’ basic needs in Santa Barbara County, and sign our petition in support of our movement.


Submit your Idea and Sign our petition

Please share your ideas about how cannabis taxes should be used to address this crisis.

Sign our petition supporting our movement.


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