Austin Community College District recertified “Leader College of Distinction”

For the second straight term, Austin Community College District (ACC) is recognized as an Achieving the Dream 2024 Leader College. The prestigious designation honors the college’s commitment to student success and community impact. ACC is one of three colleges whose status is recertified. The three-year Leader College term begins Wednesday, February 21.

“Our priority is to ensure that students can finish what they start. This recognition shows that focus and dedication are making a difference in the lives of our students and community,” says ACC Chancellor Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart. “I want our students to know that we see them. This college is deeply committed to equity and ensuring everyone has success here.”

Achieving the Dream (ATD) is a national organization committed to increasing the success of community college students. ACC was selected for its work on whole-college reform leading to increased completion rates for all students. ACC is one of ten community colleges and the only one in Texas to earn Leader College status from the ATD Network.

ACC is the fastest-improving community college in Texas. Graduation rates are up from 7% in fall 2015 to 23% among full-time credential-seeking students. The transfer rate grew from 23% to 25% during the same period. Under the leadership of Dr. Lowery-Hart, the college works to more than double completion rates to 70% by 2030 as part of the college’s new North Star goal. 

“These recognitions are important to our colleges. They affirm to their faculty and staff and communities the importance of their student success work and that they are making progress on important milestone metrics in their journeys,” says Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “These institutions are exemplars of excellence within the ATD Network. They are driving accelerated and scaled gains in equitable student success results, which effect substantive improvements for students, families, and the communities they serve. Their dedication and hard work both inform and inspire other colleges, and we admire them for their work.”

Leader Colleges of Distinction must show improvement in three or more student outcome metrics, including at least one lagging indicator, such as completion or transfer with an earned baccalaureate. They are also required to show they have reduced equity gaps in at least two metrics for at least two student groups. These requirements recognize and motivate sustained and proactive reform efforts that result in greater improvements in student success and equity.

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