After months of planning, the Austin Community College District (ACC) Board of Trustees has approved a new scholarship program to support current students. 

The board unanimously approved the Affordability Scholarship program during its regular meeting on Monday, July 1. 

The Affordability Scholarship program was developed following a request from Trustees. The board asked administration to explore opportunities that would honor existing students at a time when the Free Tuition pilot program was approved. The Free Tuition pilot launches fall 2024 and provides free tuition to students in the ACC service area who were part of the high school class of 2024 and those who earned their GED® after July 2023. 

”I want to thank the board for working through this plan to support the students already working toward their degree at ACC. This Board is deeply committed to the work it takes to close equity gaps and improve the lives of our students. This shows the work we continue to do to meet the basic needs of our students while they are here,” says ACC Board Chair Dr. Barbara Mink. “We want to find ways to thoughtfully improve higher education and be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. Decisions like these demonstrate the commitment to every student, to this college, and the entire Central Texas community.”

“Our student leaders had the courage to come to us and share what their lives are really like. They’re experiencing things like food and housing insecurity more than ever,” says ACC Chancellor Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart. “I’m so proud of this Board, our students, and this college for listening and putting our students and their needs first. With this program, we’re one more step closer to making tuition free for everyone.”  

Who Qualifies

The two-year program is limited to students who were enrolled in a credit course at ACC during the spring 2024 semester. Students are eligible for the Affordability Scholarship once they have completed 45 credit hours toward an associate degree at ACC. More than 20,000 students who were enrolled in spring 2024 could be eligible. 

How It Works

Students who are awarded an Affordability Scholarship will receive tuition support for 15 credit hours that go toward a degree program at ACC. Recipients will have one academic year to apply the tuition support to their courses.

How It’s Funded

The program is expected to cost $12.75 million and will be funded with existing dollars in the college’s reserves budget. 

“Our goal is to help students finish what they started. We want to honor the students enrolled at ACC during the approval for the Free Tuition Pilot Program. It is our responsibility to make sure students have what they need to be successful,” says Dr. Lowery-Hart. “These students have shown dedication and resilience in their education. It is the start of what can truly transform the lives of our students and community.”

Ongoing planning is underway to examine future programs that can allow the college to expand free tuition to more student populations. 

More information about the Affordability Scholarship, including how to find out if a student is eligible, will be shared in the coming weeks.