Free College Tuition Program

Austin Community College District is developing a proposal to make college tuition free for everyone — starting with a pilot program that could launch as early as fall 2024.

If approved, the pilot program would cover the cost of tuition for high school seniors and GED completers in the ACC Service Area who are part of the class of 2024.

Why Offer Free Tuition?

ACC looked at data to learn more about who our students are, who needs us the most, and who isn’t accessing us. Students said college affordability and debt are keeping them from gaining a credential that leads to a family-sustaining wage.

According to college data, 59 percent of ACC students are struggling with financial insecurity.

ACC seeks to reduce the financial burden to allow more Central Texans the opportunity to pursue their education and land a family-sustaining wage. With each student’s success story, our community can improve lives, close workforce gaps, and grow a strong economy that benefits us all.

ACC Early College High School Students

Round Rock Early College High School students at the ACC Round Rock Campus

What’s Included

$85 per credit hour for up to 3 years
$67 Resident Tuition
$15 General Fee
$2 Success Fee
$1 Sustainability Fee

 

What’s Not Included

Out-of-District Fee (currently $201/SCH)
Non-Residents/International Students
Any Course/Program Specific Fees
Textbooks

 

Frequently Asked Questions

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Who is Eligible?

The proposal begins with a pilot program. Under this program, all Class of 2024 high school graduates & GED completers who live in the ACC Service Area, which includes Travis, Hays, Bastrop, Blanco, Caldwell, and parts of Williamson county would receive free college tuition at ACC.

How long does free tuition last?

Eligible high school graduates and GED completers have three years from the time they graduate to access these funds in pursuit of their associate degree at ACC. If a student chooses to pursue their bachelor’s degree at ACC, they will also get an additional two years of free college tuition at ACC.

Austin Community College offers bachelor’s degree programs in Nursing, Manufacturing, Software Development, and Cybersecurity.

Do both in-district and out-of-district students benefit?
Yes. Eligible students who live within the ACC Taxing District receive free tuition and mandatory fees, which are $85 per credit hour. Students who live in the ACC Service Area and are out-of-district, also receive free tuition and mandatory fees but are still required to pay the out-of-district fee of $201 per credit hour.
When will ACC launch the program?
The proposal is still in development. A formal plan is expected to be presented to the ACC Board of Trustees in February 2024. A vote is expected in either February or March 2024. If the proposal is approved, the pilot could begin in fall 2024.
What about Financial Aid and Scholarships?

The college recommends all students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) and apply for scholarships. The free tuition program will allow scholarships and financial aid to go further and help students pay for other life expenses.

Why 2024 high school grads?

The proposal will launch first as a pilot program. The goal is to scale it for all students as soon as we learn more about what it will take to be successful. Since the COVID pandemic, regional data indicate that 55 percent of area high school seniors go nowhere after they graduate. Graduating seniors are the college’s most easily quantified single cohort.

How do I know if I live “In-District?”

If you live in the City of Austin, Austin ISD, Del Valle ISD, Elgin ISD, Hays CISD, Leander ISD, Manor ISD, or Round Rock ISD, you are in district.

How do I know if I live in the ACC Service Area?

If you are not in-district but live in Travis, Hays, Bastrop, Blanco, Caldwell, or parts of Williamson county, you are in the ACC Service Area.

How do other students benefit?

With the class of 2024 receiving free tuition, the college anticipates more scholarship dollars will be available for current students and adult learners. Everyone is encouraged to submit a scholarship application and apply for financial aid.

When will free tuition be available for all students?
With the class of 2024 receiving free tuition, the college anticipates more scholarship dollars will be available for current students and adult learners. Everyone is encouraged to submit a scholarship application and apply for financial aid.
How will ACC pay for the free tuition pilot program?
Based on the number of 2023 graduates from area high schools, the college estimates that covering tuition for 2024 high school grads will cost around $7 million. ACC was awarded $6.8 million in additional funding from House Bill 8 (HB8) — the bill that shifts funding from enrollment-based to an outcomes-based model, rewarding community colleges for student completions, transfer, and successful dual credit. The college expects to use those dollars to fund core operations at the college — ultimately freeing up the budget to help us cover the costs of tuition for this program.
What's next?
The college is developing a recommendation to present to the ACC Board of Trustees at their February Board meeting. A final proposal could go to the Trustees for approval in March.

Official Press Release

Learn more about the free college tuition proposal at the ACC Newsroom

Austin Community College District
6101 Highland Campus Drive
Austin, Texas 78752
512-223-7000