University Federal Credit Union gift gives hope to all students

Paying for college is one of the biggest barriers students face. According to national data, 68 percent of students worry about having enough money to pay for school.

Austin Community College District (ACC) is proud to celebrate the largest donation to scholarships in ACC history — a $5 million gift from University Federal Credit Union (UFCU). In a show of appreciation, ACC will celebrate the gift with a new tradition. On Riverbat Day, Wednesday, November 16, ACC Highland will LIGHT UP PURPLE.

“This donation is truly life-changing for our students and community,” says ACC Chancellor, Dr. Richard Rhodes. “We believe college is for everyone, and we strive to eliminate the barriers that get in the way. Every dollar matters, and this incredible gift will do more than we ever thought possible. I am so grateful for our partners at UFCU who share in ACC’s vision and mission. Together, we will provide more students access to the education they need to get a well-paying job and on a path toward upward mobility in Central Texas.”

“We have long partnered with ACC and are excited to take our alliance to the next level. This scholarship program will provide all-inclusive support to hardworking students so they can focus on achieving their career aspirations through ACC,” says UFCU President, Michael Crowl. “We can’t wait to see the positive impact it will have on the communities we serve.”

UFCU’s gift will fund — in part — 40 new scholarships through the college’s Career Scholars Program which covers the full cost of tuition and fees — up to $5,000 — and provides wrap-around support to help students stay on track and graduate on time. 

For students like Christine Pham, it made going to college a reality. 

“I had my son during COVID which put a pause on my life. I was trying to figure out how to take care of a newborn. At that time, I didn’t think that I was going to be able to attend college,” says Christine, ACC Adult Career Scholar. “The Career Scholars offers the opportunity for those who are trying to juggle the work-life and college balance. Students at ACC are working, are parents, and there is a lot on our plate. Sometimes it doesn’t seem attainable to balance everything. After going to ACC, I realized that everyone here is invested in you. We are all working toward something together.”

Newly released data from Trellis show the need for financial support is mounting. A survey of students at two-year institutions across the nation show:

  • 68% of students surveyed worry about having money to pay for school;
  • 50% have run out of money three or more times in a year;
  • 48% show signs of housing insecurity;
  • 72% are less than confident they can pay off student debt; and
  • 66% would use financial support services if offered.

Through its gift, UFCU will provide $1 million per year over the next five years to ACC scholarships, including $900,000 each year that will go toward a new UFCU Endowed Scholarship at the college and $100,000 per year that will go toward ACC’s Career Scholars Program.

About ACC’s New “Light Up Purple” Tradition

To honor the UFCU gift and contribution toward making free college possible for more students, ACC will launch its new “Light Up Purple” tradition on Wednesday, November 16. The college will begin to “Light Up Purple” in celebration of major college achievements, awards, and academic excellence.

About ACC Riverbat Day  

The launch correlates with Riverbat Day — an annual day of celebration to recognize and honor the college’s mascot and what it represents to students, alumni, employees, and our community. ACC invites the entire community to wear their Riverbat gear or purple colors to join us in celebration.