Academy for College Excellence (ACE) - Cabrillo College

Cabrillo College
Academic Level
Issue Area
Key Personnel


ACE brings students who are unprepared for college and the workforce into community college, and gives them the opportunity to reevaluate their educational experience, using a unique combination of methods, some of which are based on corporate executive training models not usually found in academic programs. Started at Cabrillo College at its Watsonville campus serving over 90% Latino students, the ACE Program currently has seven programs at community colleges across the nation.

Program Description

ACE is a semester-long program that aims to bring underprepared and Latino students up to college level performance quickly. It offers students an opportunity to bypass some of the lengthy remedial process, which helps to develop their identity as successful college students. The ACE program addresses self-efficacy and affective issues that hold students back and helps students adopt more effective classroom behavior. The cohort-based ACE model incorporated integrated coursework, community based social justice primary research, experiential pedagogy, peer student support, strength-based learning, and teamwork.


Latino students make up 58.7% of the ACE population of students whose results were analyzed and reported by MPR in February 2013 ( This report is based on 894 ACE participants and 123,631 non-participants enrolled in Cabrillo College, Hartnell College, Los Medanos College, and Berkeley City College in the fall 2010, spring 2011, and fall 2011 semesters. ACE participants in accelerated programs were considerably more likely to pass degree-applicable English in the ACE semester, and this difference is still apparent two semesters later. They are also considerably more likely than comparable non-participants to complete transfer-level English (148% more likely), and they earn 7 to 10 more degree-applicable credits than comparable non-participants. Completion of transfer-level math are equally as effective though this was of a pilot of the math acceleration model of only 55 students over three semesters. Also, accelerated ACE participants were more likely than comparable non-participants to enroll full time in the semester following the ACE semester, enabling them to earn credits more rapidly.

Latinos in Higher Education - 2024 Compilation of Fast Facts - web pop-up banner with "Learn More" button.