Pending the outcome of a proposal from its new chancellor, some enrolled and prospective Austin Community College students could soon qualify for free tuition.

What's happening?

In February, ACC Chancellor Russell Lowery-Hart will propose to the college system's board of trustees a measure to create a zero-cost tuition program for high school seniors, with the eventual goal of expanding the program to include students at all levels who live in the college system's service area. Should the proposal be approved, it will go into effect this fall, a Jan. 10 release from ACC states.

In October, Lowery-Hart described the community college's affordability as its source of power and importance as a regional education partner. ACC has not increased tuition rates in the last decade.

What they're saying

“I think this is the first conversation to our end goal of making college something for everyone," Lowery-Hart said in the release. "ACC can be a national model. We have the resources and innovation to do something magical. Our proposal covers the cost of tuition so that financial aid and scholarship dollars can go further and help students pay for their living expenses. That is a game changer.”

About the program

High school students who reside in the service area and graduate this spring would qualify for up to three years of free tuition, with enrolled ACC students qualifying for two years of free tuition, the release states. Funds for the program would come from monies already available within the college system's budget as well as state appropriations from HB 8.

Under the program, $85 per credit hour would be funded for each student for a period of three years, covering several fees paid by students:
  • $67, resident tuition
  • $15, general fee
  • $2, success fee
  • $1, sustainability fee
Fees that would not be covered include:
  • Out-of-district fees
  • Tuition for nonresident and international students
  • Course- and program-specific fees
  • Textbook costs