The UC San Diego Academic Community for Engineering Success (ACES) Program is a two year program that engages and supports highly motivated engineering students from economically and educationally underserved backgrounds. ACES focuses on enhancing student success in their chosen engineering major through admission to the Summer Engineering Institute, faculty mentorship, a collaborative peer support community, and additional academic enrichment.

ACES Offers Students

  • Scholarships to Attend the Summer Engineering Institute - Get a jumpstart on the academic career with no-cost admission to UC San Diego’s 5-week Summer Engineering Institute (SEI). ACES students will attend SEI the summer immediately before their freshman year. As part of SEI, ACES students will:
    • Earn 6 credits towards their engineering degree, including participating in Engineering 10: Fundamentals of Engineering Applications. This hands-on course allows students to develop and apply mathematical skills while working in teams to solve practical engineering problems.
    • Receive support in making the transition from high school to the rigors of a university-level engineering curriculum, such as coaching on study skills and habits necessary to succeed in engineering. SEI also provides an introduction to living on campus and familiarizes students with the UC San Diego campus.
    • Begin forming a peer network.
  • Faculty mentorship - A key component of the ACES program is faculty mentorship. ACES students are partnered with faculty mentors with whom they meet throughout the year in one-on-one and group sessions. Faculty mentors provide guidance as well as an introduction to engineering research
  • Collaborative Peer Support Community - Each ACES cohort is made up of roughly 25 students that act as a peer support community. ACES students will attend socials and formal study groups with their ACES peers creating a supportive environment where they can develop confidence, strengthen study skills, learn the value of collaborative study, and establish lifelong friendships.
  • Academic Enrichment – ACES students have access to additional academic enrichment opportunities and support services such as guaranteed placement in Engineering Learning Communities, access to professional and skill-building workshops, and one-on-one mentoring with ACES staff and Jacobs School students.
  • Additional Scholarships - ACES Scholars receive access to National Science Foundation scholarships throughout the two-year program.

ACES Program Eligibility

To be eligible for the ACES Program you must be:

  • An incoming freshman at UC San Diego in an Engineering major
  • A US citizen or US permanent legal resident
  • Eligible for financial aid and have completed both the:
    • 2019-2020 FAFSA or CA Dream Act application
    • 2020-2021 FAFSA or CA Dream Act application
  • Highly motivated to complete a engineering degree

Important Dates

ACES Application Opens: April 1, 2020

ACES Application Deadline: May 10th, 2020

ACES Financial Aid (2019-2020 FAFSA) Priority Deadline: May 1st, 2020

  • Apply for financial aid to attend the 2020 Summer Engineering Institute by completing the 2019-2020 FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application.
  • Note: you may have already completed the 2020-2021 FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application, but that support starts Fall quarter and doesn't help with the upcoming summer, so it is important to fill out the 2019-2020 application as well. For additional financial aid information, please visit

To Apply:

The Summer Engineering Institute is an important part of the ACES program, and there is one, combined application for both ACES and SEI. To apply to ACES follow the instructions for applying to SEI. Indicate that you would like to apply to the ACES program on the third essay question. To apply:

  1. Go to
  2. Log on with your Single Sign-On
  3. Select Summer Engineering Institute
  4. Complete the application
  5. Note: As part of the application you will be asked to complete the following essay questions:

    1. Why are you inspired and motivated to study engineering? How do you plan to use your engineering degree in the future?
    2. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again? Why, or why not?
    3. In addition to applying to the Summer Engineering Institute, would you like to apply to the IDEA Scholars Program or the Academic Community for Engineering Success (ACES) Scholar’s Program? Why would you like to become an IDEA or ACES Scholar?

    Note: You may apply to both the ACES and IDEA Scholars programs.

  6. Once you have completed your 2019-20 FAFSA, please email a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR) or a screen shot of the first page of the SAR (showing your Expected Family Contribution) to


Jessica Baldis
Academic Success Coordinator