Program for Adult College Education (PACE)

Welcome to PACE

The PACE Program at Diablo Valley College is designed to support working adults with demanding jobs and family obligations in pursuing an associate degree or transfer to a four-year college/university. Whether you are changing careers, seeking a promotion or returning to school after starting a family, the PACE Program can help you get started on your journey toward a college education today.

PACE program advantages and benefits

  • Reserved seating in impacted courses with dedicated PACE instructors
  • Assigned counselors 
  • Focused curriculum to help students stay on track
  • Mid-term success reports to help students track their academic progress
  • PACE mentorship support provided
  • Evening and weekend tutoring 
  • Additional graduation ceremony for PACE students
  • Access to transfer partner Universities that have programs for working adults:
    • CSU East Bay
    • Sacramento State University
    • CSU Stanislaus
    • Saint Mary's College
    • Southern New Hampshire University
    • Western Governors University
    • San Francisco State University

Read more stories about the PACE Learning Community

PACE program requirements

  • Must commit to a minimum of 2 semesters of PACE coursework and adhere to PACE curriculum
  • Meet with PACE counselor every semester to create and maintain a Student Educational Plan 
  • Enroll in Student Success course during first term (unless previously taken) 
  • Must be employed or be a full-time parent

*If you need two or three classes to complete your educational goal, this program is NOT for you.

PACE degree tracks (two-year course sequences):

Applying to PACE takes FOUR easy steps:

Step 1

Apply for DVC

If you're a current  DVC student, you can skip this step. 

Step 2

We will be closing our Summer/Fall 2024 applications, Friday, April 19th, 2024 at 5:00PM (PST). For further inquiries about the PACE Program, please e-mail: 

Apply for PACE

Step 3

Meet with a PACE Counselor
We'll reach out to you after you submit your application to discuss your goals, including transferring to a university, and will help you build an educational plan.

Important - Make sure to send all your official transcripts from other colleges to DVC prior to scheduling your counseling appointment so we can plan around your previous coursework.

Step 4: FAFSA

Complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) 
This application will help determine how much financial aid you qualify for. Some of our students don’t pay any tuition.

If you need help filling out the FAFSA, contact DVC Financial Aid Office  for assistance. 

For more information or if you have additional questions, please contact

Meet the PACE Team

Sheila Lau

Sheila Lau

PACE Program Faculty Coordinator
Office: 925-969-2457

I'm passionate about the PACE Program! Having been a PACE student myself, I understand first hand, the struggles of being a working adult and raising a family all while going to school. I was a transfer student working 3 jobs throughout my undergraduate degree. And then I was a working mother with two boys ages 3 and 5 when I pursued my graduate degree. It was hard, but I did it with the support of a PACE Program, and you will too. I look forward to supporting you through your journey in the PACE Program at DVC.

Hideo Nakano-Hiraki                                                  

Hideo Nakano-Hiraki PACE

PACE Program Faculty Counselor
Office: 925-969-2140

Hello, I’m Hideo Nakano-Hiraki and I’m a General/PACE/EOPS Counselor here

at DVC.  I’ve been a full time Counselor since 2015 (yes that long ago) and I love my job!  I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Counseling Psychology.  I really enjoy figuring out the best ways for students to be successful in their Academic, Work, and Personal Goals.  I see each students path a unique journey and like a puzzle…we both have to figure out how to form the big picture by working together.  I look forward to working with you soon and welcome to DVC!!!


Alberto Aranda

PACE Program Faculty Counselor
Office: 925-969-2140

Hi, I'm Alberto Aranda, your dedicated PACE counselor at Diablo Valley College. I am not just an academic advisor but a testament to resilience and service. My journey began straight out of high school in 2004, when I enlisted in the Marine Corps, marking the start of a notable military career. Throughout my four years in the service, I distinguished myself by undertaking two challenging deployments to Iraq as an infantry rifleman. My bravery and dedication during these times were recognized with several honors, including the prestigious Purple Heart, two Navy Achievement Medals, the Navy Unit Commendation, a Combat Action Ribbon, and a Good Conduct Medal. Transitioning from military to academic life, I utilized the GI Bill to further my education, demonstrating the same dedication and excellence. I first achieved an Associate of Science degree in Fire Science, graduating with honors and notably leading as the Academy Commander of the 52nd Basic Fire Academy. My thirst for knowledge and commitment to service led me to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Services and a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from CSU Los Angeles. Throughout my time at CSU Los Angeles, I was deeply involved in community service and internships. I worked with a range of organizations, dedicating my efforts to supporting survivors of human trafficking, sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse and assisting fellow veterans in their journeys. This extensive experience in counseling and rehabilitation, combined with my journey of overcoming challenges, has equipped me with unique insights and a deep understanding of the struggles faced by students. Now at Diablo Valley College, I am a Veteran/General/PACE counselor, applying my vast experiences to guide and support students. My multifaceted background makes me a beacon of inspiration and a relatable figure for students navigating their educational and personal challenges. Whether students are veterans, returning learners, or balancing education with other commitments, my own journey resonates with many, making me an invaluable asset to the PACE program at DVC.

Success Stories

Felicia Hill

Felicia Hill

My name is Felicia Hill and when I first learned about the PACE program (Program for Adult College Education), I thought, this is a program for me! When I met with my counselor, she walked through the educational program and designed a plan specifically for me. I feel the teachers and counselors were available for guidance and were committed to helping us all be successful. Participating in the PACE program, enabled me to obtain my AS degree in Business, Certificate of accomplishment - Real Estate Salesperson and Certificate of achievement - General business within 2 ½ years. I am absolutely satisfied with the PACE program at DVC.

Jeff Heath

Jeff Heath

“I started 4 years ago at the age of 41. I realized I needed a degree in order to reach a higher level in my career. I enjoyed the PACE program and my only regret is not joining PACE from the start of my educational journey
Sheila Lau my PACE counselor was always available when I needed her. She played an important role is seeing me through the pandemic and helped me pick which school I should transfer to.”
Advice for new transferring students: “Start the pace program from day one. Don't be afraid of taking more than one class a semester. Take all of the summer and winter classes you can handle so that you can finish faster. It took me four years to complete an associate's, and I regret not doing more in the beginning.”

Tanya Flucher

Tanya Flucher

I made up my mind in 2016, that I was going to complete my AA transfer degree. I attempted college several times, and I wasn't successful. I entered the PACE Program in Summer 2016. I took public speaking and I got an A in the class. After completing the public speaking class, I had the determination and drive to keep moving forward. I just took things one semester at a time. Every semester I received a tremendous amount of support from the PACE Program advisers. I was working full time, going to school, and supporting my daughter through high school. I encountered several obstacles along the way.  I didn't let that stop me, I persevered. I'm transferring to Cal State East Bay Fall 2020, to obtain my BA in Human Development/ Women's Studies. I'm living proof that it's never too late to complete your educational goals.