Applications for fall 2022 open January 15 — Selected students get money to pay for college plus personalized support services

The push to make college free for everyone continues to grow, and Austin Community College District (ACC) is doing more to expand its Career Scholars program that offers up to $5,000 to cover the costs of tuition and fees at ACC. 

There are tracks available for adults who are already in the workforce as well as high school seniors. Due to popular demand and promising results from our pilot year, ACC is expanding the Career Scholars program to all high school seniors who are enrolled in any high school in the ACC service area. 

“The cost of living in Central Texas continues to increase. The Career Scholars program offers the opportunity for our underserved communities the chance at a high-paying career, who otherwise wouldn’t have the means to go to college,” says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC Chancellor. “When you look at disenfranchised segments of our population they are hit the hardest in their financial ability into higher education. I truly believe college is for everyone and Career Scholars gives them the break they need to get a good job.”

Since its launch in 2019, Career Scholars have succeeded in large numbers and surpassed all goals. Highlights include:

  • Surpassing enrollment goals with more than 540 students participating
  • 93 percent persistent rates for adults and 87 percent for direct-to-college, more than 10 percent higher than non-Career Scholars
  • Enrollment was 53 percent Hispanic
  • More than 30 scholars in the inaugural program have already graduated or transferred to a four-year institution

“Finances have always been a barrier for me. This has been lifted off my shoulders and I really can focus now on getting my good grades and also getting references from my professors as well,” says Melanie Castro, ACC Career Scholar recipient. “Without this program, I would probably be paying out of my own pocket taking one class here and there, or just utilizing my certificate I got in 2019.”

Applications for fall 2022 open Saturday, January 15.

The all-inclusive scholarship program allows students to work toward a certificate or associate degree in a high-demand field identified by the Texas Workforce Commission as having high earning potential. These include programs in:

  • Arts, Digital Media & Communication
  • Business
  • Computer Science
  • Education
  • Health Care
  • Manufacturing
  • Skilled Trades
  • Public & Social Services

Career Scholars get free financial, academic, and career support such as:

  • Money for tuition & fees
  • Career mentors
  • Academic advising
  • Tutoring
  • Job search
  • Resume guidance

Scholars also can be eligible for apprenticeships and internships and get support for life expenses including child care costs. 

Career Scholars is supported in part by regional employers including Spawglass, NI, and Dell Foundation. Employer partners provide both financial support as well as experiential learning opportunities for students.  

Anyone interested in becoming a Career Scholar in fall 2022 is encouraged to apply by the priority application deadline of May 31. For more information, visit