Austin Community College (ACC) and Round Rock Independent School District (RRISD) celebrate the first cohort of Early College High School (ECHS) graduates Monday, May 18. More than 100 RRISD students are expected to graduate from ACC’s ECHS program having earned their associate degree at the same time they graduate high school. The graduates are invited to a drive-up ceremony at Kelly Reeves Stadium (10211 W. Parmer Lane).
The students and up to four guests from the same household, will be called to walk across the football field where their name will be announced and collect their diploma cover.
“This is such a monumental moment for these students,” says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president/CEO. “They’re not only graduating high school, they’ve earned a college degree at the same time. The associate degree is highly valued by many employers today and can lead to in-demand jobs and higher earning potential for students. Our ECHS program is designed to open those doors to opportunity and it’s working to close equity gaps in our communities.”
ACC and Early College High Schools Success
ACC partners with a total of 12 schools across Central Texas for ECHS. The program allows students the opportunity to earn up to 60 college credit hours — an associate degree — at no cost.
This spring, 324 students will graduate from ACC’s ECHS programs, up from 164 in 2019. Last year, 100 percent of students from six of the seven ECHS with graduating classes, seamlessly transitioned to a four-year institution. ACC ECHS students’ course completion rates are at almost 70 percent, which is more than double the national average of 30 percent. The highest completion rates are at Elgin ECHS at 96 percent and Round Rock ECHS at 92 percent.
Other ECHS programs are available in Austin ISD, Elgin ISD, Del Valle ISD, Bastrop ISD, and Manor ISD. The program has successfully narrowed equity gaps. According to the data, among the past four graduating ECHS cohorts, 74 percent of graduates were Hispanic, 13 percent Black, 8 percent White, 1 percent Asian, and 3 percent were other.
For more information on the program, visit austincc.edu/echs.