UT Austin and ACC Launch a Co-Enrollment Program for Incoming Freshmen

The University of Texas at Austin and Austin Community College have announced that they will offer a co-enrollment program to freshmen that will enable qualifying students the chance to earn an associate degree from ACC and guaranteed admission to The University of Texas at Austin to earn a bachelor's degree.

Path to Admission through Co-Enrollment (PACE) is the latest step in the evolution of a growing institutional partnership between UT Austin and ACC. This program is designed to help some of Texas' most qualified students reach their higher education goals and provide students with a clear path to college success by taking credit-courses at both UT Austin and ACC.

Prior to their first semester, students will consult with an on-campus academic adviser and enroll in a Signature Course, a required, smaller format, writing intensive first-year course, at UT Austin. At the same time, students will work with an ACC academic adviser to select and enroll in core curriculum courses that align with their personal and professional goals. UT Austin and ACC will co-develop advising strategies to set students on a personalized path for college success.

"Our first-year Signature Course is critical for helping students in their transition to university-level work," said Bill Powers, president of The University of Texas at Austin. "This arrangement helps ensure that our many transfer students do not miss out on this formative experience. What's more, the skills they learn in our Signature Courses will serve them well during their foundational studies at Austin Community College."

Students will benefit academically from smaller, cohort-tailored classroom environments at ACC while simultaneously being exposed to student life and academic expectations of UT Austin. Academic advisers will work together to develop the students' academic plans while top faculty members from both institutions will work to co-develop rigorous credit-bearing courses.

PACE may also result in financial savings for students. As co-enrolled students, participants will pay tuition to each institution for the credit hours in which they are enrolled.

PACE differs from a typical transfer program by providing students with integrated academic plans, access to student services at both institutions, and the opportunity to directly engage in most aspects of student life at UT Austin. Upon successful completion of program requirements, including completion of the core curriculum at ACC and achievement of at least a 2.5 grade-point average on a four-point scale, students will be eligible for automatic transfer admittance to UT Austin. Upon completion of 60 credit hours, students will also be eligible to receive an ACC associate degree.

To participate in PACE, students must be Texas residents who are eligible for automatic admission under the state's top 10 percent law but who do not qualify for automatic admission to UT Austin and who applied to UT Austin for freshman admission to the next summer or fall semester. (This year this would apply to students ranked in the 9th or 10th percentiles.) Students invited to participate were notified online through MyStatus, the university's admissions portal, and by mail this week.

"PACE represents two sectors of higher education working together to create better pathways for students to achieve their dreams," says Richard Rhodes, ACC president and CEO. "In this case, that dream is to achieve a bachelor's degree from UT Austin. Through this program, we will give more students an opportunity to reach that goal while benefiting from both the UT Austin and ACC experience."

ACC is the top source of transfer students to area universities, and ACC students who transfer to UT Austin perform, on average, better than other transfer students.

Last month, both institutions announced a reverse transfer agreement, allowing students to combine credits to earn an associate degree even if they transfer before community college graduation.