More than 9,100 area school seniors will head to college next fall if Austin Community College and its community partners succeed in an ambitious plan to get 70 percent of the class of 2016 to continue with higher education upon graduating.
The goal is outlined in the Direct-to-College Achievement Plan, or DTC70, a first-of-its kind effort involving ACC, nine school districts, five area chambers of commerce, six businesses, and the University of Texas Ray Marshall Center. The groups want 70 percent (the national average) of area seniors to enroll in college right after high school – about 1,400 more than enrolled in 2014.
“We know almost 70 percent of available jobs in Central Texas require a college degree. We owe it to our communities to help those who want to build a life here acquire the skills and knowledge they need to succeed,” says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC President and CEO.
Research indicates students are more likely to complete a degree if they enroll in post-secondary education directly after high school. While about 90 percent of area graduates intend to do that, only about 62 percent actually do.
For its role in the DTC70 plan, ACC will continue many of its existing programs and expand others:
Expanded high school office hours
Beginning this fall, advisors from ACC’s Enrollment Management Office will spend more time at more area high schools answering questions and assisting students (or their parents) with college application and admission processes. Advisors spend about eight hours a month at most of the 64 high schools they visit, which include five alternative schools.
“We receive positive feedback from the high school counselors,” says Patricia Behr, director of recruitment. “Some of the students have great rapport with the recruiters and contact them outside of office hours for assistance.”
The college is continuing or extending several programs under the “Destination ACC” umbrella. These include ACC 1-on-1, the popular program that lets prospective or current students get individual help from an ACC advisor by phone, e-mail, or in-person at the College Destination Center @ACC in Highland Business Center. The Enrollment Management Office also plans to host “Destination ACC: Saturday” open houses on December 5 at Round Rock, Highland, and South Austin campuses and January 9 at Cypress Creek, Highland, and Riverside campuses. The events give students a chance to complete application and registration steps in one stop.
These recruitment initiatives will be supplemented by new enrollment management software that will help ACC provide targeted help to prospective students.
Drawing students into the higher education pipeline
Other ACC commitments in the DTC70 pact involve working to ensure more high school graduates are prepared for credit-bearing college courses, offering dual credit, career academy, and early college high school opportunities that include student success and career-planning strategies, and helping to prepare high school teachers to teach dual credit courses on high school campuses.
“The Austin Chamber plays a tremendous role in helping us work with our high school partners across Central Texas, and the Chamber-led DTC70 initiative is just one more example,” says Provost Dr. Charles Cook. “ACC will meet with area superintendents to explore ways by which the college may assist the high schools in reaching this important goal.”
To read about DTC70 and ACC’s role in the initiative, view “DTC70: The Central Texas Direct to College Enrollment 70% Achievement Plan” (pdf).Back to Top