ACE Student of the Year Award


The ACE Student of the Year Award goes to two learners who embody the best attributes of thousands of adult learners.​​​​​​​​​ Through this award, ACE recognizes adult learners who have benefited from the use of​ ACE's military or workforce credit recommendations to earn a college degree or advance a career.

Each year, ACE has solicited nominations of adult learners who have used ACE's college​ credit recommendations for one or more of the following reasons:

  • To begin coursework at a college or university
  • To complete an academic degree, certification, or license through a college or university
  • To advance in a career
  • To transition into a new career

As part of a national strategy embedded in our strategic commitments, ACE is helping post-traditional learners achieve success by expanding flexible completion pathways through innovative learning. Nowhere is the impact of that work more evident than through the achievements of the annual ACE Student of the Year Award recipients.

Adult learners represent nearly half of enrolled undergraduate students in the United States. These learners are generally over the age of 25, and they often balance work and family responsibilities while attaining credentials. Roughly 60 percent of adults without a bachelors degree want to pursue a post-secondary degree or certificate. Adult learners are looking for flexible course schedules and opportunites to put their prior learning to work.

Student veterans are more likely than other learners to pursue post-traditional paths. On average, student veterans delay entering college by five years after graduating from high school; when they do enroll, 61 percent of student veterans take classes online, at night, or on weekends. Fifty-four percent are enrolled in associate degree or certificate programs, and 44 percent are enrolled in bachelors degree programs.

Emerging research on credit for prior learning (CPL) and student success indicates that students with CPL are far more likely to complete a postsecondary credential. The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning and Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education found on average learners with CPL were 22 percent more likely to complete a credential than their peers without CPL.

Eligibility and Nominations

Award winners must demonstrate:

  1. Application of ACE credit recommendations—please indicate the total number of ACE credits earned, the program(s) utilized to earn this credit, and the institutions at which the credits were accepted
  2. Continued success in academic, professional, personal, and community endeavors
  3. Extraordinary achievement in their community or workplace while successfully balancing the demands of family, career, and education
  4. Inspiration to others in setting high educational goals
  5. Enrollment at an ACE m​ember institution is preferred, but not required—view the ACE Members and Associates Directory

Nominations must include both:

  • A 300–500 word individual nominee statement written by the applicant, explaining why they should be recognized as an exemplary adult learner and providing clear evidence to their application of ACE credit recommendations; educational goals; and continued success, achievement, and inspiration
  • A statement in support of the nomination from an individual other than the nominee

Award recipients should expect to participate in a series of post-award activities such as interviews and press releases.

2022 Winners

Congratulations Amberlin Dupre and Joel Riley!

ACE celebrates Amberlin Dupre, an operations manager at a national nonprofit medical society, and Joel Riley, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and project manager in the financial technology industry, as the recipients of the 2022 ACE/Sophia Learning Student of the Year Award. The award was presented at ACE2023, ACE's Annual Meeting.



Nominations are now open for the ACE Student of the Year Award.

The deadline for nominations is February 5, 2024.

Each award winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship to continue their education.

​Nominate Now


ACE is grateful to Sophia Learning for its support of this award.