Roommates Jeffrey MacGillivray, center, and Randall Jenkins, right, both 20, enjoy their philosophy class at El Camino College in Torrance. A push to make California community colleges more enticing to first-year students was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday.The proposal, AB 19 by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), lays the groundwork to waive the fees for the first year of community college for all first-time students. It's an incentive that&nbsp;would draw in new students who wouldn&rsquo;t otherwise enroll,&nbsp;Santiago said."Community college changed my life. It gave me choices and opportunities and it opened doors,"&nbsp;Santiago said.&nbsp;"I know free community college will change the lives of Californians."The state already offers fee waivers for low-income students, but some community college districts report that a substantial percentage of students eligible for the waiver don't apply for it.The new law is contingent on securing funds in next year&rsquo;s budget to fully roll out the promise of a free first year.Brown signed the bill despite opposition from his own Department&nbsp;of Finance, which expressed concern that&nbsp;all students, regardless of financial need, would be able to get their fees waived. The administration has focused its student aid efforts on those with demonstrable financial hardship.The measure was supported&nbsp;by a number of community college districts. It also became a rallying call for Rise&nbsp;Inc., a recently launched grassroots group of California students seeking to do away with college tuition and reduce student debt. The group collected more than 6,000 signatures for&nbsp;a petition to the governor urging his signature.&nbsp;The support "reflects demand among students, among families who want to access higher education," said Max Lubin, the CEO of Rise. "People want to go to college but don't see themselves pursuing college because&nbsp;of the cost."The cost of college has increasingly become a political flashpoint, with student debt climbing over $1 trillion nationwide. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) proposed free college tuition during his 2016 presidential campaign and California Democrats proposed, but did not enact, a plan to make college debt-free by helping cover living expenses.