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Program helps students ACE university credits


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Education Professor Frank Lilly

Sacramento State’s Accelerated College Entrance (ACE) program enables qualified high school junior or seniors to enroll in approved classes and earn university credits while completing regular high school studies. The students may also take campus-based courses provided that they maintain good academic standing with both the University and their high schools.

Participating schools must meet Sac State’s requirements for course content as well as teacher qualifications. The screening process includes a memorandum of understanding between the University and the schools.

Students and families interested in the program may visit the ACE website ( for more information, application requirements and class schedules.

At its peak, under the direction of Education Professor Bruce Ostertag, ACE (created nearly three decades ago) served 5,000 students in 51 schools to include regional Academic Decathlon programs, a nationwide and statewide endeavor. State budget cuts, he says, prompted the campus to put most of the off-campus program on hiatus. “ACE has now been allowed to ‘slowly’ restart efforts this year and we anticipate approximately 770 ACE students,” Ostertag says.

Education Professor Frank Lilly, who became the program’s co-director last spring, is looking to help revive and fine tune the operation by consulting with the teachers to help ensure that they are connecting with students and vice versa. Two of his undergraduate assistants are ACE products, and he plans to fill the ACE pipeline with even more highly motivated students. The surest way, he says to accomplish that is “to spur the creative spirit of these extraordinary young men and women.”

Lilly believes that passionate teachers can make a profound difference in students’ lives; he preaches that educational philosophy with evangelical fervor. That same drive and determination prompted Lilly to take a sabbatical this semester to concentrate on ACE.

To that end, Professor Lilly will be connecting with teachers and students in participating schools for the foreseeable future. “It will keep me very busy once I began teaching again,” he concedes. “But the rewards are well worth the time and effort it takes to help these students make the most of their considerable potential.”

For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156. – Alan Miller