Achieving a College Education (ACE) Program
The Maricopa Achieving a College Education (ACE) Program is a collaboration of area universities, high schools, "at risk" students, and their parents. According to a study sponsored by the Ford Foundation in 1999, nine essential elements make the ACE program a success with students and parents: 1) the creation of student cohort groups, 2) a focus on at-risk students, 3) high academic standards, 4) a non-threatening environment 5) continuous contact with students, 6) family involvement, 7) strong collaboration between institutions, 8) long overlap of transition points, and 9) scholarships and financial aid information. The ACE cycle takes two years and integrates the nine essential elements.
During the summer between sophomore and junior year, a student takes college classes totaling six credit hours. During the fall and spring semesters a student takes one Saturday class totaling three credit hours. The cycle repeats again starting the summer between the junior and senior year of high school. Students participate in the program as a cohort. Students and their families participate in an orientation and a series of ongoing activities and events, such as financial aid and career workshops, designed to keep them informed and connected throughout the two years.
ACE's three goals are 1) to increase the number of students graduating from high school, 2) to increase the number of students continuing on to college, and 3) to increase the number of students earning a degree or certificate.
From its inception 25 years ago through 2012, ACE has served 18,027 high school students. On average, 84% of ACE students graduated early or on time from high school, and 80% of ACE graduates enrolled in college. ACE graduates not only enroll in college, they excel in college. Over 80% of ACE students attending college earned semester GPAs of 2.0 or higher across both 2-year and 4-year institutions. In addition, 2,895 ACE students have earned one or more certificates or degrees to date - 973 certificates, 914 Associate degrees, 945 Bachelor degrees, 58 Masters degrees, 4 professional degrees and 1 Doctorate degree.
Programs & Initiatives
- Ensuring America's Future (EAF)
- Examples of Excelencia
- Growing What Works Database
- Growing What Works
- ALASS: Accelerating Latino Student Success