Taking Your Education to the Next Level with ACE

Jan, 23 2023

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A student with headphones using a laptop

Are you a high school sophomore who dreams of attending college but is still trying to figure out how to make that dream a reality? Between juggling classes, extracurricular activities, jobs, and family obligations, it can be overwhelming to even think about how to make college a possibility.  

The Achieving College Education (ACE) program provides an opportunity for high school students to earn up to 24 college credits before they even graduate from high school at no cost. So, let’s examine how ACE helps students overcome adversity and achieve their dreams.

What is ACE?

For more than 30 years, the nationally recognized ACE program has recruited sophomores to participate during their junior and senior high school years. Once accepted, during your last two years of high school, you can concurrently enroll in high school and college courses and attend classes during the Summer and on Saturdays during the school year. At the end of your senior year, you may have up to 24 college credit hours accumulated. After graduating high school, you can continue your studies at Maricopa Community Colleges or transfer to a university of your choice to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

Most importantly, students in the ACE program receive tuition waivers and do not pay any out-of-pocket costs for college classes.

Who Qualifies for ACE?

The ACE program is open to sophomores in over 100 Arizona high schools who meet two or more of the criteria. These include first-generation college attendees, students living in single-parent homes, being from an underrepresented group, facing economic hardship, or having other environmental factors such as needing to work 10 to 30 hours a week while in high school, living in foster care or temporary housing, or being a teen parent.

Once accepted into the program, you must maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 throughout your time in the program to remain eligible for its benefits.

Application Process

You are ready to apply if you meet two or more criteria listed in the Who Qualifies for ACE section. Here’s what you’ll need to complete the application process:

  • Completed application form
  • Submit two complete recommendations that include full name and email address
  • Submit a personal essay consisting of 300 words
  • Completed College Student Information Release form
  • Submit unofficial high school transcript.

You will receive either an email or mail notification if your application is accepted, put on an alternate list, or incomplete. Be prepared, as some schools have an interview process.

Proven Success of ACE

During the last five years, the ACE program has seen student success with inspiring statistics. Of the students who participated during this time, 92% graduated from high school on time with an average GPA of 3.03.

Additionally, these ACE students graduate high school with an average of 23 college credits already earned. The success continues even at the university level, as 72% were accepted into universities and colleges. In comparison, 48% continue to pursue higher education at Maricopa Community Colleges.

Lastly, 56% completed either a degree or certificate or are still dedicatedly enrolled in college after completing the ACE program.

For many high school students facing adversity, whether due to financial constraints or personal struggles, the prospects of attending college can seem far out of reach. However, with the ACE program in your corner, you have hope for a better future and should be inspired, knowing great opportunities are still possible. ACE offers an invaluable opportunity to reach the pinnacle of success and academic goals through hard work, dedication, determination, and, most importantly, at no cost to you. There is no better way than the ACE program to jumpstart your future success. So, take charge and learn more about the ACE program today

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