In the inaugural year of a new co-enrollment program, 92 freshmen are simultaneously taking classes at UT and Austin Community College, with the goal of becoming full-time UT students over the course of the next two years.
The students are enrolled in the Path to Admission through Co-Enrollment program, also known as PACE, which will allow them to take four classes at ACC as well as a UT signature course. In coming semesters, the students will be allowed to take any UT class that counts toward a 42-hour state-mandated core curriculum. Upon completion of this curriculum, the students will be admitted full-time at UT.
PACE program coordinator Cassandre Alvarado said students in the program this year were in the top 10 percent of their high school class, but were not automatically admitted into UT. This year, only students in the top eight percent of their classes were automatically admitted.
Before PACE, students could use the Coordinated Admission Program, or more traditional transfer methods, but PACE is the first coordinated co-enrollment effort that has been offered at the university, Alvarado said.
Freshman Joseph Munoz, a participant in the co-enrollment program, said he enjoys being able to participate in small classes at ACC while still being a part of campus life at UT.
“I felt that it would be good for me to be on my own and figure everything out,” Munoz said. “It’s a good way to get your feet wet before you fully jump in.”
Although students still pay full price for their UT class, the cost of taking four classes at ACC makes their tuition much less than full-time UT students.
“It’s an interesting combination because it makes living here more affordable,” Munoz said.
Students in the program also have opportunities to talk to their advisers in a seminar once a week to help navigate both campuses and to make sure they are getting the best experience possible, Alvarado said.
Freshman Jonathan Jopio said he plans to transfer into chemical engineering after he finishes his PACE requirements. He said he felt PACE was the right fit because it allowed him to seamlessly enter into the UT culture.
“I chose to do PACE rather than any other transfer program because I wanted to be in Austin,” Jopio said.
Alvarado said she was pleased the program allows students to ease into University life.
“I’m always thrilled for new opportunities to provide designated paths into UT,” Alvarado said. “We’ve created a system so that when students become full-time students, they are really set up for success.”