Austin Community College (ACC)'s mission is to serve underrepresented populations. When challenged to implement Texas’ Closing the Gaps higher education plan, ACC developed a model program, College Connection, to encourage students to seek degrees in higher education. College Connection is a unique, specialized outreach program taking ACC enrollment services directly into high school campuses.
The program's primary goal is to create the expectation of postsecondary education by proactively placing college services squarely in front of all ACC service-area high school seniors. College Connection provides students direct one-on-one assistance to complete the ACC admission application, assessment, and advising requirements. It also provides individual assistance with financial aid application, career planning, student life information, and ACC campus tours. Every graduating senior in the participating College Connection high schools receives an ACC acceptance letter along with his/her high school diploma.
College Connection has dramatically increased student and school district participation in each year of operation. This is especially true for Hispanic students, which make up about 40% of those seeking admission to ACC. Begun in 2003-04 as a cure for one high school's low college-going rate serving 350 students, in 2013-14, College Connection is serving 25 school districts with 64 high schools and more than 15,000 high school seniors