ACC Free Tuition Plan


The ACC Free Tuition Pilot Program—also known as the College Affordability Plan—is a five-year pilot that will offer free tuition and general fees for high school seniors, including public, private, charter, and homeschoolers, and GED® completers who live in the ACC service area and who graduated after July 1, 2023.

Planning is underway to ensure the program is sustainable, scalable, and centered on academic success, social equity, and economic development.


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 keep them from gaining a credential that leads to a family-sustaining wage.

According to college data, 58 percent of prospective ACC students indicate the cost of tuition was a barrier to enrollment.*

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

*Source: Student Financial Wellness Survey Results, Fall 2023, ACC Office of Institutional Research & Analytics.


What Does It Include?

With each student’s success story, our community can improve lives, close workforce gaps, and grow a strong economy that benefits us all.


What’s Included

Free tuition and General Fees for 3 years
(or up to 5 years if you want to pursue your bachelor’s at ACC) 

$85 per credit hour which includes:

· $67 Resident Tuition
· $15 General Fee
· $2 Success Fee
· $1 Sustainability Fee


What’s Not Included

Out-of-District Fee ($201 per credit hour)
Non-Residents/International Students
Any Course/Program Specific Fees


First Dollar Program

Great Questions Class

The ACC Free Tuition Pilot Program is a “first dollar” program designed to serve the most students possible. In a first dollar plan, students can add financial aid to their award, such as Pell Grants, scholarships, and student loans. This means low-income students can stack aid on top of their free tuition, allowing them to use additional money for housing, transportation, groceries, books, and other life costs.

Read: Lessons from a ‘first dollar’ approach to student aid, University World News, Nov. 2023.

Process & Timeline

Development of the program has been on an expedited timeline to date. The college first presented a preliminary proposal in January 2024 and answered initial follow-up questions during the board’s February 2024 work session. A formal proposal was presented to the board for the first time on Monday, March 4.

The board reviewed updates and new details at its work session and regular meeting on April 1, 2024, and approved the program at that meeting.

Free Tuition Timeline

Frequently Asked Questions

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Who is Eligible?

The proposal begins with a pilot program. Under this program, starting with the class of 2024, high school graduates & GED® completers who live in the ACC service area would receive free tuition at ACC. The ACC service area includes portions of Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop, Blanco, and Caldwell counties. Visit to view the service area map.

How long does free tuition last?

Eligible high school graduates & GED® completers get three years of free tuition at ACC from the time they graduate to earn up to an associate degree or five years of free tuition if they want to pursue their bachelor’s degree 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. You can learn more about our service area by visiting

When will ACC launch the program?

The ACC Free Tuition Pilot Program launches 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 ultimate goal is to make ACC tuition free for all students, but we are starting with a pilot program first. Graduating high school seniors and GED® completers were identified as the first cohort in part because of concerning regional data that indicate 57% of all 2023 high school graduates in our region did not enroll in any postsecondary education in the state after high school. The proposal begins with this cohort — starting with the class of 2024. It also includes all future classes of high school graduates and GED®/HSE completers in subsequent years.

How do I know if I live “In-District” or "Out-of-District"?

Visit to view the ACC service area. If you live within the service area and pay ACC taxes, you’re considered in-district. These areas include the City of Austin, Austin ISD, Del Valle ISD, Elgin ISD, Hays CISD, Leander ISD, Manor ISD, and Round Rock ISD.

How do I know if I live in the ACC service area?

The ACC service area covers all or portions of six Central Texas counties: Bastrop, Blanco, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson. You can view the service area map at

How do current students benefit?

With the high school 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. Learn more about paying for college at ACC

When will free tuition be available for all students?

The pilot program starts with the class of 2024 and will continue for future classes in subsequent years for the next five years. Ongoing planning is underway to examine future phases of the program that would allow the college to expand ACC Free Tuition to more student populations.

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 vision is to scale the program for all students as soon as possible. The college will begin working immediately with the ACC Foundation and community partners to fundraise so that we can expand the program to all student populations in subsequent years.

Resources and Additional Information

Learn more about the 2024 College Affordability Plan and the ACC Free Tuition first dollar proposal.

College Affordability Plan

College Affordability Plan

Informational Flyer

Informational Flyer

January Media Advisory

March Media Advisory

Austin Community College District
6101 Highland Campus Drive
Austin, Texas 78752