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ACT’s American College Application Campaign Announces 5th Annual School of Excellence Awardees

IOWA CITY, IOWA — Today ACT’s American College Application Campaign (ACAC), a national effort to increase the number of first-generation college students and students from low-income families pursuing a college degree or other higher education credential, announced its fifth annual 2023 School of Excellence awardees, a group of 27 exemplary schools that are helping students pursue postsecondary success.

“We are incredibly excited to recognize the 2023-24 School of Excellence winners, and the communities of educators, volunteers, and students who have helped drive this nationwide campaign forward, with the most applications ever submitted as part of the campaign,” ACT CEO Janet Godwin said. “These communities have shown a path forward as we work to ensure that all students, including first-generation college-goers and high school seniors from low-income backgrounds, consider college. It begins with demystifying the complex process of applying. By meeting students where they are — in school, during the school day — the winning schools are removing many of the common obstacles students face in applying to college.”

The application process can be confusing and daunting. ACAC events help high school seniors, including those who are the first in their families to attend college or are from low-income families, submit at least one college application in school, during the school day. Winning schools help students understand the steps of the application process and host events that empower students to complete an application.

Awardees demonstrated a strong commitment to student success and serve as exemplary models for their state’s college application campaign. The 27 winning schools, listed below, were key contributors to this year’s successes:
  • A record number of 9,253 high schools hosted a College Application Campaign event — an increase of nearly 80% over last year.
  • More than 467,000 seniors submitted at least one college application during events.
  • Students submitted a total of 1,398,024 applications.
“We have seen firsthand how communities can transform the lives of students and their entire trajectories as they navigate life after high school and into college,” ACAC Director Lisa King said. “I’m so proud for ACAC to recognize more School of Excellence winners this year than ever before. It’s a thrill to celebrate the exceptional work of these educators and communities who are supporting students to take the first steps beyond high school.”

Each year, ACAC works with designated coordinators in nearly every state and the District of Columbia to host college application events and reach students in their schools and communities, encouraging them to apply to college. Activities in 2023 included college application drives, financial aid workshops, and one-on-one mentoring for academic and career planning support.

Nationally, the campaign has served nearly 4.7 million students who have submitted nearly 8.7 million applications since 2005.
2023 School of Excellence Awardees

For more information, visit

About the American College Application Campaign

The American College Application Campaign (ACAC), a national initiative of ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning, is designed to increase the number of first-generation college students and students from low-income families who pursue a postsecondary degree. The purpose is to assist high school seniors as they navigate the college application and admissions process and ensure each participating student submits at least one admissions application.

About ACT

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Grounded in more than 60 years of research, ACT is a trusted leader in college and career readiness solutions. Each year, ACT serves millions of students, job seekers, schools, government agencies and employers in the U.S. and around the world with learning resources, assessments, research and credentials designed to help them succeed from elementary school through career. Visit us at

Contact: Allie Ciaramella;