New grant will support ACC’s efforts to increase adult student enrollment

Austin Community College District (ACC) is one of 20 institutions selected nationwide for a special initiative from Achieving the Dream (ATD) and Lumina Foundation to increase adult participation — particularly among Black, Hispanic/Latinx, and Native American students aged 25 and over — in quality credit-bearing and non-credit programs.

The Prioritizing Adult Community College Enrollment (PACCE) initiative will support ACC and other selected colleges as they implement strategies for boosting adult learner enrollment in programs that lead to post-high school credentials.

“Community colleges play a vital role within higher education to act as open-access hubs of growth and opportunity for the diverse students they serve,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of ATD. “We are excited to support these institutions as they develop strategies to better serve adult learners, a priority that aligns with ATD’s deep commitment to building stronger pipelines to and through postsecondary education.”

“ACC is honored to be selected for this grant. The PACCE initiative is rooted in meaningful and collaborative work that will help all of us build better pathways for adult learners — particularly among those who are historically underserved,” says Dr. Melissa Curtis, ACC associate vice chancellor of Enrollment Management. “We’re excited to work together to develop lasting partnerships and strategies that will make a difference to our community.”  

As part of the initiative, ACC proposes to scale up and strengthen the pipeline from the college’s Adult Education programs to credit programs that grant degrees and certificates. By strengthening this pipeline, the college will create more educational and employment opportunities for learners.

The college will receive a flexible grant of up to $75,000, along with technical assistance and programmatic support from participating partners. The group includes five rural, six suburban, and nine urban colleges. Among these are eight Hispanic-Serving Institutions, one Historically Black College, one Asian American and Native American-Pacific Islander-Serving Institution, and one institution designed solely to serve incarcerated students.

“Helping more adults earn credentials of value starts with having labor-market-aligned programs that adults can enroll in and succeed,” said Dr. Chauncy Lennon, Lumina’s vice president for learning and work. “The colleges receiving grants are prioritizing adults by strategically supporting their participation at scale.”

“The grant comes at a time of significant importance for community colleges as we work to reduce barriers for adult students,” said Dr. Monica Parrish Trent, ATD’s vice president for network engagement. “We are excited to collaborate with Lumina and national partners to support these 20 colleges in boosting enrollments and credential attainment by holistically serving adults, particularly adult learners of color, and disseminating learnings into the field.”

The 20 colleges receiving PACCE grants are:

  • Ingram State Technical College, AL
  • Wallace Community College, AL
  • Mt. San Antonio College, CA
  • Colorado Mountain College, CO
  • Broward College, FL (ATD Leader College)
  • Florida Southwestern Community College, FL
  • Kalamazoo Valley Community College, MI
  • Cape Fear Community College, NC
  • Finger Lakes Community College, NY
  • Mohawk Valley Community College, NY (ATD Network institution)
  • Onondaga Community College, NY (ATD Network institution)
  • SUNY Fulton-Montgomery Community College, NY
  • The Alamo Colleges District, TX (ATD Leader College of Distinction)Palo Alto College
    • San Antonio College
    • St. Philip’s College
    • Northeast Lakeview College
    • Northwest Vista College
  • Austin Community College District, TX (ATD Leader College of Distinction)
  • South Texas College, TX (ATD Leader College)
  • Temple College, TX (ATD Leader College)

PACCE is supported with funding from Lumina Foundation and in partnership with ideas42, rpk GROUP, and Equal Measure.

To learn more about ACC’s Adult Education Program, visit the Adult Education website.

About Achieving the Dream
Achieving the Dream (ATD) leads a growing network of more than 300 community colleges committed to helping their students, particularly low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity. ATD is making progress in closing equity gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. ATD, along with nearly 75 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with Network colleges in 45 states and the District of Columbia to reach more than 4 million community college students.

About Lumina Foundation
Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. We envision a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. Our goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.