The Austin Community College District (ACC) Board of Trustees held its May regular meeting on Monday, May 4, via teleconference due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Trustees heard presentations on the 2019 Student Success Report and annual Sustainability Report, discussed the collegewide impacts of COVID-19, and voted to hold tuition and fees steady for a historical seventh consecutive year.
Below are highlights from the meeting.
2020-21 Tuition & Fee Rates
For the seventh consecutive year, trustees voted to keep in-district tuition and fees unchanged to help keep the cost of an ACC education low. Out-of-district fees and out-of-state tuition will remain the same for the 2020-21 school year as well. Read more here.
COVID-19 Impact & Resolution
About 60 percent of ACC students have experienced some sort of financial burden due to COVID-19. Trustees discussed the ways the college is supporting students during this challenging time.
ACC is working to distribute the more than $14 million allocated to the college through the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF). This includes $921,000 in additional funds the college qualified for as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. In the first 48 hours applications were open, more than 3,000 students applied.
For students who may not qualify for federal assistance under CARES Act, the college started its Keep a Dream Going campaign in partnership with the ACC Foundation. The campaign has nearly reached its goal of $300,000 for the Student Emergency Fund.
Additionally, Student Affairs is hosting a call-a-thon to reach out to all spring 2020 students and share information about financial and technology support.
Early data is promising and indicates that support measures are helping students persist; the withdrawal rate is down 30 percent versus the same time last year.
The board authorized ACC President/CEO Dr. Richard Rhodes to purchase necessary goods, materials, and services to help the college quickly address COVID-19-related needs.
The resolution grants this permission until the September 14 board meeting, at which time trustees will have the option to extend the authorization.
The resolution also gives consent for items previously purchased for the health, safety, and wellbeing of students and employees, such as the iPads purchased and distributed to students in need.
2019 Student Success Report
The college is starting to see the first wave of results from all its Guided Pathways initiatives. Dr. Charles Cook, ACC provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, presented the annual Student Success Report which includes some of these results.
Annual Sustainability Report
Andy Kim, ACC Energy & Sustainability director, updated Trustees on efforts the college is taking to reduce its impact on the environment. Kim presented the college's 2020 Annual Sustainability Report which shows progress toward its goal of becoming Zero Waste by 2040 and achieving climate neutrality by 2050 while continuing to grow to meet the demand for ACC programs and services. Read highlights from the report here.