New program allows students to earn college degree and diploma

08.03.2015 | By Jeannie Peng-Armao

The ACE program is a collaboration between San Jacinto College and La Porte ISD

PASADENA, Texas – La Porte High School students now have an option to work toward both their high school diplomas and their San Jacinto College associate degrees through the Accelerated College Education (ACE) program.

Thirty-five students are enrolled in the ACE program's first course, the EDUC/PSYC 1300 learning framework course, this Summer. It's a program that intrigued Nathan Evans, 16, from the start.

"I felt this was too good of an offer to pass up," said Evans, who will enter his junior year of high school this Fall. "Not only are they paying for my tuition and textbooks, but who wouldn't want to graduate from high school with two years of college already completed?"

The La Porte Independent School District pays for the ACE program tuition, fees, transportation, and textbooks. High school sophomores are considered for the program based on scores from their Algebra II Pre-Advanced Placement (AP) or Pre-Calculus courses and two additional Pre-AP or AP courses. 

One of the goals of the program is to increase the number of students earning associate degrees and transferring to universities for their bachelor's degrees. 

"Jobs have become so competitive now, and trends show that high school diplomas are not enough to obtain a good paying job," said Jason McConnell, La Porte High School associate principal. "Students need a college degree. The ACE program gives them the option to earn one sooner."

Evans will attend his college classes for the next two years at the San Jacinto College Central Campus from first through fourth period each morning and return to La Porte High School to finish his remaining three class periods each afternoon. 

He will be among the first group of participants to earn their associate degrees in the Spring of 2017, weeks before graduating with their high school diplomas. Once Evans graduates, he plans to pursue studies in either criminal justice or civil engineering at a Texas university. 

"Under the ACE program design, students become full-time college students for their 11th and 12th-grade years, and with some summer school courses, are able to complete an associate degree prior to high school graduation," said Pam Campbell, assistant vice chancellor for educational partnerships at San Jacinto College. "This program is one of the many ways San Jacinto College aims to provide more students with the opportunity to get ahead in their education and successfully complete their first two years of college while in high school."

The ACE program is the latest addition to San Jacinto College's early college high schools and dual credit programs. The College is home to dual credit programs at each of the three campus locations, as well as Pasadena Early College High School, Clear Horizons Early College High School, Modified Early College Academy, Sheldon Early College High School, and Galena Park Career and Technical Education Early College High School.

To learn more, visit sanjac.edu/dual-credit.

About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit sanjac.edu, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.