Austin Community College District’s (ACC) 2020-21 Student Success Report is now available for review on the provost’s webpage.
The 2020-21 Student Success Report explores academic progress toward three of the college’s Strategic Plan goals.
- Goal 1: Increase Access and Entry
- Goal 2: Improve Persistence and Engagement
- Goal 3: Increase Completion & Transfer/Employment
The report takes an in-depth look at academic initiatives, successes, challenges, and more as ACC works to build strategies and programs that fuel continued progress in 2021 and beyond.
Read the Executive Summary below. View the full report on the provost’s webpage.
The landscape of higher education changed in 2020, and Austin Community College District navigated through the changes thanks to its previous work with Guided Pathways.
The College was able to quickly transition to fully online instruction and support services when the COVID-19 pandemic began due to recent progress in its distance education program, faculty training, and information technology infrastructure. The percentage of ACC students enrolling in at least one distance education course jumped from 30.2 percent in fall 2019 to 98.6 percent in fall 2020. Rather than negatively impacting student success, however, overall student success rates (A, B, or C grades) improved in distance education courses by 5 percent. Black students achieved a 10% gain, Hispanic students achieved a 5.3% gain, and other students achieved a 6% gain.
The 2020-21 Student Success Report explores academic progress toward ACC’s first three Strategic Plan goals.
Goal 1: Increase Access and Entry
ACC was not immune from the national trend of enrollment declines in colleges and universities due to the pandemic; however, overall fall credit headcount declined only 2.8 percent compared to the 11.4 percent national average. Black and Hispanic students, as a percentage of overall headcount, increased. Innovative programs continue to increase access and close equity gaps. ACC launched the Career Scholars program in fall 2020 which yielded a 97 and 94 percent persistence rate from fall to spring among its adult and direct-to-college cohorts respectively.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many unemployed Central Texans. To help get them back to work, ACC expanded the Fast Track Training Program, which grew from 377 students in 12 programs in spring 2020 to 893 students in 26 programs in spring 2021.
To ensure that equity and access remain at the forefront of the College’s plans for the future, a Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) Committee was formed in May 2020 with the charge of writing a plan with goals, strategies, and actions to grow a diverse enrollment over the next three years.
Goal 2: Improve Persistence and Engagement
After a number of years of steady improvement in persistence, the College saw a dip due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, programs such as student success courses and Open Educational Resources (OER) have improved success rates.
Students who successfully completed EDUC 1300 compared to those not enrolled in a college success course persisted at a significantly higher rate across all races and ethnicities. For example, the persistence rate (fall 2019 to spring 2020) for African-American males who successfully completed EDUC 1300 was 91.3 percent, while the same rate for African-American males who did not enroll in a college success course was 60.6 percent.
OER has consistently resulted in higher course success rates and higher persistence rates, and these trends continue as the courses grow in popularity among students. In fall 2020, for the first time, more ACC students were enrolled in OER course sections than in non-OER sections of the same courses.
Goal 3: Increase Completion & Transfer/Employment
To meet workforce needs, the Guided Pathways model follows students all the way to completion. Data show the number of ACC completion awards has increased 49.1 percent over the last five academic years, from 7,734 in 2016 to 11,534 in 2020. This total surpasses the goal established in the ACC Strategic Plan to reach an intended award of 10,124 credentials in academic year 2021. Graduation rates have also improved over the last five years.
In the sections that follow, we will examine these academic initiatives, successes, challenges, and more as ACC works to build strategies and programs that fuel continued growth in 2021 and beyond.
View the full report on the Provost’s webpage.