The mission of ACE Scholarships is to provide children of low-income families with scholarships to private schools in grades K-12, and to advocate for expanded school choice in Colorado.
Across our nation but especially in our urban areas, too many children from low-income families are trapped in zip codes with poor performing schools. Consequentially, low-income students have shown lower academic outcomes than their peers. In an effort to close this achievement gap, ACE was founded to provide low-income children with access to quality private schools.
For 18 years, ACE scholars have consistently attained higher graduation rates than their low-income peers, providing evidence that once empowered to choose the educational setting that is best for them, any child can succeed.
Since our founding, ACE has provided more than 19,600 scholarships in Colorado, paid scholarship commitments exceeding $42 million, and established partnerships with over 145 private schools across the state.
Please read the story of a young man, Noah.
The first 4 years of his life were spent with his single mother in a homeless shelter. "My dad was never in the picture, and when my grandparents heard about our situation, they drove all the way to Georgia to pick us up and bring us back home," Noah recalls. His grandparents ensured him that he and his mom would be cared for. They purchased a mobile home for them and helped his mom get back on her feet.
"My mom had things going on in her personal life, so I was spending a lot of time alone without any direction. That's when I started having problems at school." By middle school, Noah had fallen behind and stopped paying attention in classes. His grades dropped, and the trend continued in high school."I was surrounded by drugs and drinking and felt the negative pressure of my peers surrounding me." One day, Noah got into trouble and was kicked out of school. He felt destined for failure. Noah's mom set up a meeting at an ACE partner school close by. Noah finally felt hopeful, but was afraid his mom could not afford the tuition.
That is when he learned he could apply for an ACE scholarship and would be able to enroll in the private school near his neighborhood. "For the first time, I was in a school setting where I felt wanted, where I fit in. The difference between my public high school and my new environment was night and day."
Noah struggled academically at first, but caught up quickly with the support of his teachers and classmates."Before ACE Scholarships, I was ready to drop out and accept failure, now I am going to be the first in my family to go to college," he said.
Noah graduated from high school and headed to college last fall to major in psychology. His ultimate goal? To be a high school guidance counselor and have an impact in the lives of young adults who struggle like he once did.
ACE is changing the story for the children that need it most. It begins with a scholarship and lives on through the success of our scholars for the rest of their lives, positively affecting generations to come.