Now celebrating its 50th year, Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) officially opened Sept. 18, 1961, with 270 students meeting for late afternoon and evening classes in temporary quarters at Severna Park High School. Today, AACC is an award-winning, fully accredited, public two-year institution serving more than 53,000 students each year through credit and noncredit programs in more than 200 areas of study and more than 2,800 courses.
AACC considers itself the community’s college. About 70 percent of recent, college-bound public high school graduates in Anne Arundel County who enrolled in Maryland higher education institutions attend AACC. In addition, the college serves students with a variety of academic goals, including adults returning to college for retraining and students taking college courses while still in high school. AACC has a diverse population, with 28 percent of fall 2011 credit students reporting they are from underrepresented groups (Black/African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, multiracial).
The college has received national and state recognition for its innovative programs. Its areas of study can lead to an associate degree, credit certificate or letter of recognition, continuing education certificate, industry credential, career enhancement, personal enrichment and lifelong learning. Students may transfer to four-year institutions, and AACC has increased its transfer agreements with four-year schools to form pathways for students to continue their education.
AACC at Arundel Mills is a state-designated regional higher education center. Five four-year institutions at the center partner with AACC as the University Consortium, offering classes at AACC at Arundel Mills, the Arnold campus and online. The center enables students to work toward a four-year degree in specific programs without leaving the county.
Students may choose daytime, evening, weekend, online or hybrid (online and on campus) classes. Distance education is growing exponentially through AACC’s award-winning Virtual Campus. The college also contracts with businesses, organizations and government agencies for workforce training through the Center for Workforce Solutions, which develops employer-specific training at a time and place best suited to the employer’s needs.
AACC’s main campus in Anne Arundel County brings it close to centers of local, state and federal government, an international port and airport, one of the world’s largest estuaries and some of the nation’s top corporations and defense contractors. The 230-acre Arnold campus is just minutes away from Maryland’s capital city of Annapolis and between the state’s largest city, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. The county is home to Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall (BWI) Airport, the U.S. Naval Academy, Fort George G. Meade, the National Security Agency and the U.S. Cyber Command. AACC’s strategic location makes it possible for the college to offer more work-related opportunities to its students. AACC is an important player in the economic development formula as we recognize that an educated workforce is key to attracting and retaining businesses.
The college has become a nationally recognized leader for its innovative programs and services, commitment to learning-centered education and dedication to serving students and the community.
AACC forms partnerships with businesses, government agencies, other colleges and community organizations to expand existing academic programs and begin new ones. The college created institutes and centers to bring together credit programs, noncredit certifications and contract training in specific subjects, such as teacher education, hospitality, cybersecurity, homeland security and entrepreneurship. Business partners also serve on program advisory boards to assure the college curriculum is up-to-date and meets community needs.