ACC student Andres Barran poses for a portrait on Thursday, June 14, 2018, inside the ACC Bioscience Incubator.

Part of the Fabric of Austin For More Than 95 Years

Founded in 1973 with one campus serving 1,726 students, Austin Community College (ACC) has grown to become a recognized leader in higher education in the U.S. and internationally. What began as an extraordinary vision among community leaders and education pioneers is today the primary gateway to higher education and career training in the region. Over its 45-year existence, ACC has grown to become one of the largest colleges and universities in the nation. Today, approximately 76,000 students choose ACC annually.

Building Construction class at the Riverside Campus on Thursday, June 13, 2019.

ACC’s leadership position has been recognized on numerous fronts across the country. In addition to multiple awards for its advanced facilities and campuses, ACC was recognized in 2013 as an “Achieving the Dream Leader College.” The following year, ACC was awarded an “Architect of Change” by E3 Alliance. Accolades continued in 2015 with the Sustainability Award from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education; a Citation of Excellence from Learning by Design; an Impact Award for Innovation from Urban Land Institute of Austin; an Innovator Award by Campus Technology; and an Exemplar College Award from the Texas Association of Community Colleges/Texas Success Center.

International recognition began in 2017 when ACC was selected as a member of The League for Innovation in the Community Colleges. The college was designated a Hispanic-Serving Institution in 2013, a federal designation indicating a 25 percent or greater full-time equivalent Hispanic enrollment and was awarded with the Seal of Excelencia in 2019 for its progress toward closing equity gaps and significantly increasing Latino student completion.

ACC nursing student Christine Sygal learns practical skills during lab on Wednesday, July 5, 2017, at Eastview Campus.

Serving a Dynamic Region

ACC founding President/CEO, Dr. Thomas M. Hatfield, was committed to providing an open-admission policy with flexible entrance requirements and job training as well as university-transfer courses when he led the initiative to establish a multi-campus, open admission college embedded in every corner of the community. Austin had become known as a college town with the University of Texas at Austin. As more individuals from diverse sections of Austin wanted to be involved in its growing economy and politics, there was a need for affordable higher education. Today, with Austin being a hub for innovation and the home to an entire tech ecosystem, the workforce needs of the community demand high-quality and affordable higher education.

Those needs are being met by ACC. Students avail themselves to a wide range of learning opportunities through more than 100 programs in ten areas of study at the college’s 11 campuses across its 7,000-square mile service area, which is geographically larger than the state of Connecticut. ACC offers affordable access, through traditional and distance learning modes, to higher education and workforce training, including appropriate applied baccalaureate degrees. It remains the number one college choice among Central Texans and ranks top in Texas for transfer success.

Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1978, ACC continues to lead the nation in transforming how students learn. The college provides flexible, accelerated learning opportunities and real-world learning experiences to help students complete their education on-time and graduate workforce-ready. Under the leadership of President/CEO Dr. Richard M. Rhodes (2011-present), the college implemented guided pathways in 2016 to ensure students receive clear guidance to reach their goals in the most efficient and effective way.

HLC ACCelerator

Embracing Cutting-Edge Innovation and Technology

Austin Community College embraces innovation and collaboration to transform lives across the local community. The college strives to expand learning and training opportunities and provide real-world experiences that benefit its students and the region.

Pursuant to that goal, ACC in 2014 pioneered the ACCelerator, the nation’s largest high-tech digital learning lab featuring more than 600 individual computer stations. The ACCelerator offers a variety of classes from motion graphics, business, and communications to developmental math, English as a second language, geography, and more. The ACCelerator’s success in improving student persistence, retention, and completion has generated national attention and prompted expansions districtwide with ACCelerators now available at four of the college’s campuses.

English as a second language (ESL) class on Friday, November 30, 2018, at the Eastview Campus.

ACC also is home to several incubators designed to fuel industry growth in Austin and bridge gaps in workforce education. The ACC Bioscience Incubator opened in early 2017 and provides valuable wet-lab space and an innovative work environment for life-science entrepreneurs. It’s also the first bioscience incubator at a community college. ACC’s Fashion Incubator opened in spring 2019 to prepare aspiring designers and established entrepreneurs for success. The 7,500-square-foot facility offers career-technical training, transferable credits, a residency program, leasable space, and more. A manufacturing incubator is expected to open in summer 2020.

In 2018, the ACC Hays Campus opened the Public Safety Training Center (PSTC), which provides advanced training facilities for students in the college’s Criminal Justice and other first responders programs.

Austin Community College Spring 2019 Commencement event on Friday, May 17, 2019, at the Frank Erwin Canter.

Community Involvement

In addition to transforming the learning landscape and implementing a college-wide focus on issues of equality and inclusion, ACC is involved in many initiatives that benefit the local community. Students participate in numerous areas of service, including:

  • Office of Student Life supports a variety of organizations and community-building events.
  • Center for Non-profit Studies offers non-profit workforce and career development in Central Texas.
  • Center for Public Policy and Political Studies which provides a unique community college government internship program.
  • Support of Amplify Austin and other scholarship fundraising efforts helps the ACC Foundation raise funds to support student scholarships, emergency funds, and program support to the college.

According to the latest economic impact study report, issued in 2019, annual income created by ACC topped more than $1.6 billion on the local economy. Higher wages from skills acquired while attending ACC and increased business output stimulate increases in income across the state, thereby raising prosperity in Texas and expanding the economic base for society as a whole. The average associate degree graduate from ACC will see an increase in earning of $10,800 each year compared to a person with a high school diploma or equivalent working in Texas.

Austin Community College is proud to be living its motto: “Start here. Get there.”