ACC Chancellor, students tour expanded student support centers

Austin Community College District (ACC) data shows the average student is only about a $500 personal issue from having to drop out. Three newly expanded student centers at ACC aim to support the whole student–– meaning in and out of the classroom. 

“When you meet our Riverbat students, they are older, they are not just the 18-year-olds who graduated high school. They are working two part-time jobs. They may be raising a family or caring for an extended family. 70% of our students are living in some kind of financial need. Just going to college isn’t what it used to be. It is far more complicated,” says ACC Chancellor Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart. 

On Monday, October 16, Dr. Lowery-Hart joined a group of students to tour and learn more about the new centers. Each offers dedicated staff to help students find wrap-around resources they need to address their immediate needs.

The centers include:

  • Student Welcome Center: Designed for future, new & current Riverbats and their families to explore the college’s programs & get 1-on-1 guidance and learn about free support services.
  • Student Care Center: A hub for life support, whether that’s access to food or a connection to community resources, including housing, transportation, legal aid, family support, and more.
  • Student Life Center: Designed for students and provides a place to socialize, study, attend events, and find their passions, from intramural sports to student clubs.

During the tour, ACC students shared their experiences, challenges, and needs as college students today. They discussed how centers like these allow students to stay and access the support they need to stay enrolled and move forward to achieve their career and academic goals. 

“Spaces like the student care center and the welcome center reflect what can happen when you don’t just listen to the student’s voice but you empower and respond to it,” says Lowery-Hart.

“Everything affects how we work academically. Everything in our lives will affect how we are as students. If a college isn’t really paying attention to what we need, we can decline,” says Brianna Butler, ACC student and Student Care Center employee. “I have never heard of a school offering as much as we are, with the other care centers, but especially here. Someone can come in here and shop, I thought that was astronomical.”

The college aims to scale these centers and create similar, grouped resources at all ACC campuses. 

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