All Free Minds students are admitted to Austin Community College and earn six hours of college credit for completing the program. Sixty percent of the graduates of the first three Free Minds classes report enrolling in further college classes within two semesters of completing the program, either at ACC or at four-year institutions such as St. Edward’s University and Huston-Tillotson College.
A central goal of the Free Minds Project is to increase participants’ confidence as citizens, thinkers, and advocates for themselves and their communities. Program graduates report that the program has:
- helped them seek promotions and new job opportunities
- led them to undertake volunteer work
- encouraged them to be more active in their children’s education
For many students, having the opportunity to model the importance of education for their children has been a primary motivator for entering and completing the program. Several graduates are now attending college classes alongside their own children.
By the Numbers
In 2010, Free Minds conducted a broad survey of program graduates, with graduates reporting the following results:
- 77% of graduates have taken other college classes since finishing Free Minds
- 96% agree that Free Minds prepared them for the transition to college
- 83% report using skills that they gained in Free Minds in their careers and workplaces
- 70% of graduates who have changed jobs, attribute that change to Free Minds
- 90% agree that their experience in Free Minds had a positive impact on their children
- 100% of graduates say they would recommend Free Minds to a friend or relative
On average, 75% of students who have been enrolled in a Free Minds class complete the program, compared to a national graduation rate of 60% in similar programs.