Capital IDEA Frequent Questions

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If you have additional questions you’ve come to the right place. Our team has compiled frequently asked questions and answers that you may find helpful.

If you don’t see your question below please contact us at:



Why is this program free?

As a nonprofit, we raise money to invest in the education of individuals just like you! When you graduate and get a great job, we've succeeded in our mission and made the future a little bit brighter right here in Central Texas. Now that's money well spent.

Capital IDEA provides full tuition assistance, guidance, and other support free of charge to more than 800 low-income adults participating in our program each year. It costs approximately $4 million dollars annually to make this program available in our community. So, where does the money come from? The funds that pay for our students’ expenses are provided by the generous support of community members, foundations, and government agencies, including our two largest investors, the City of Austin and Travis County.


  • Whose income do I count?
  • Most applicants will provide their own income and the income of their spouse or partner. If you do not have an income of your own, we may ask you to provide letters from those who help you financially, such as your relatives and friends. If you have additional questions regarding your income status, contact us at 512-457-8610 or

  • What if I’m not a Permanent Resident yet?
  • To qualify for Capital IDEA programs you must be able to prove you have Permanent Resident status. If you are in the process of applying for Permanent Residency, you may begin the Capital IDEA application process but we will not be able to accept you until your Permanent Resident status is confirmed.

  • What if I already have a degree? (USA or other country)
  • Capital IDEA does not sponsor adults who have already earned a college degree. In the case that you can prove your degree is not valid for employment, Capital IDEA can consider your application and offer you solutions.

    If your degree is from a foreign country, you may have your credits reviewed to determine your credit equivalency. If the college evaluates your credits to be less than an Associate Degree, Capital IDEA may be able to help you get the remaining credits you need.

    Transcript evaluation services are available at ACC Highland Business Center located at 5930 Middle Fiskville Rd, Austin, Texas 78702, 3rd floor.

    To get a foreign degree translated to English, visit Complete this before taking your documents to ACC.

    If you have additional questions, contact us at 512-457-8610 or

  • Can I still apply if I’m a high school senior but not 18?
  • High school seniors still need to meet our qualifications. However, in their last semester of school, they can start applying and complete all steps of the process before they turn 18 years of age. Capital IDEA will not be able to accept applicants until they turn 18 years old. Visit our high school page for more information.

  • What if I have student loans in default?
  • To be accepted by Capital IDEA, you must be in good standing with your student loans and with ACC. You will have to establish a payment plan if your loans are in default.

  • Can two people from the same family apply?
  • Our policy is not to sponsor two people at the same time who rely on each other for their income like a spouse or domestic partner. Experience has shown us this does not work because it creates financial hardship on the household. A good financial plan is critical to your success. If you are not financially dependent on one another like siblings or a parent/child with separate income, then yes, two or more people from the same family may apply at the same time.

  • Can I be considered if I have a criminal history?
  • Yes, but you may be ineligible for certain careers that require licensing. As part of your application process you will bring a criminal history from DPS. If the career you choose requires licensing, you will be asked to submit an application to the Licensing Board. If the board finds you eligible for licensing Capital IDEA can accept you. If you can’t be licensed, then we will not pay for your education in that career, and you may have to consider a different career choice.

  • What if I am unsure about my career choice?
  • We want you to finish your degree and move on to a rewarding career. Part of our application process includes going over your interests with a Career Guidance Specialist. This step may help determine the right career field for you, but ultimately it is up to you to make the best choice for yourself. Take the time to research your options and be ready for your commitment interview. You will be asked about your reasons for choosing your career field.

  • What if I am already attending classes at ACC?
  • Current ACC students are eligible to apply to Capital IDEA. If accepted, we will sponsor the remainder of your education. We do not retroactively pay for classes you’ve already taken. In addition, you must be in good standing at ACC.


  • What if I don’t see a CareerUp in my county, can I attend a different one?
  • Capital IDEA schedules CareerUps in a county when there is funding to support more students from that county. You may attend any CareerUp that is convenient for you, but understand that we will not be able to accept your application until we are recruiting from the county you reside in.

  • Do I have to attend a CareerUp to apply?
  • Yes. Capital IDEA hosts many public CareerUps throughout Central Texas and online. You can find the dates on our website and Facebook page. We also host private CareerUps when we’re invited into classrooms, businesses, housing sites, and partner organizations. If you see a posting for a Capital IDEA presentation at an organization you belong to, show up! That will also count as your CareerUp.


  • How long will I be in Capital IDEA?
  • That depends on your starting point and your career choice, but on average our students complete a program in about 3.5 years. College Prep takes 1 semester, pre-requisites and co-requisites classes can take 1 to 1.5 years, and program classes can also take 1 to 1.5 years to complete.

  • How many classes will I take a semester?
  • To meet the requirement of a fulltime student, you will typically need to take 3 to 4 classes per semester.

  • What is the schedule for the College Prep Academy classes?
  • College Prep students attend class Monday through Friday for twelve weeks. Reading is 12pm – 2:30pm. Math is available in the morning 8am – 11am, or in the evening 6pm – 9pm. See the College Prep page for more details.

  • Can I attend class at night?
  • ACC sets the class schedules and may have some evening or weekend classes, but most classes are during the day. It is unlikely you will be able to take the majority of your coursework at night.