Hundreds helped through inaugural Prosper Tax Center

Austin Community College District (ACC) hosted the inaugural Prosper Tax Center in the ACCelerator at Highland Campus to provide free tax preparation assistance to hundreds of Central Texans and paid job-training opportunities to ACC students.

The site’s goal was 250 returns. By the time it shut down for the tax season on Wednesday, April 15, the team had prepared 421 tax returns. 

“That’s phenomenal for a first-year site of our size,” says Karen Serna, Student Financial Wellness and Financial Aid Outreach Director. “Additionally, taxpayers contributed $63,227 of their refunds towards savings—that means they used form 8888 to split their refund and send a portion to savings.”  

The college partnered on this initiative with Foundation Communities’ Prosper Tax Help program team, which has provided free tax preparation in the Austin area for over 20 years. Their team of volunteers and staff with deep expertise—including retired accountants, ex-IRS employees, and former and current accounting professors—provided training to the ACC students hired to support the site.


“One of the most rewarding moments for me personally was when we introduced the employment opportunity to our students. I was anxious about how the students would receive this opportunity,” says Serna. “The response exceeded my expectations, which was a clear indication that our students are eagerly seeking on-campus employment that aligns with their area of study and provides them with real-world experience.”

113 students applied for the 11 positions. 

The students received training from the Prosper Tax Help training team and had to pass several IRS certification exams. They learned to navigate tax issues, collaborating closely among themselves. 

Often, a Prosper Tax Help staff member would be present at the site to ensure quality control and offer ongoing training, which enhanced the students’ skills and confidence. Whenever the students encountered obstacles, they could reach out to Prosper Tax Help’s training and leadership teams for guidance. 

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