Aspen Prize Names Ten Finalists
Colleges Will Compete for Prestigious Award and $1M Prize Fund
Ten finalists have been named to compete
for the 2017 Community College Prize for College Excellence, the nation’s premiere
recognition of achievement and improvement among America’s community colleges.
The colleges — including two each
from Texas, California and Florida — now will be subjected to a review of data
on performance and improvements in learning, graduation rates, workforce
development and equity. The review process will include site visits to each of
the finalist institutions.
A jury of higher education experts
will select a grand prize winner and up to four finalists with distinction. The
$1 million prize fund will be awarded in March 2017 in Washington, D.C.
The prize has been awarded every two
years since 2011. It recognizes outstanding institutions selected from an
original pool of more than 1,000 public community colleges nationwide. The
prize assesses community colleges’ achievements in four areas: student
learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings for
graduates, and access and success for minority and low-income students.
“The success of our nation’s
community colleges is integrally tied to the success of millions of students,
thousands of communities, and the economy of our entire country,” said Joshua
Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “Simply
put, what community colleges do matters. By delivering quality education and
affording opportunities for good jobs, this diverse set of ten community
colleges is setting a standard for what all community colleges can achieve.”
Previous winners were Santa Fe
College in Gainesville, Florida, in 2015; co-winners Santa Barbara City College
(California) and Walla Walla Community College (Washington) in 2013; and
Valencia College (Florida) in 2011. According to the prize rules, former
winners were not eligible to reapply this cycle.
This year’s finalists reflect the rich
diversity American community colleges — from Broward College in Florida, with a
majority Latino student body of 62,000, to tiny Lake Area Technical College in South
Dakota with 1,900 students.
This year, two colleges were named
finalists for the fourth straight competition: West Kentucky Community and Technical College and Lake Area Technical
colleges are finalists for the second straight time: Broward College (Florida)
and Indian River State College (Florida).
The remaining finalists are: Anoka-Ramsey Community College (Minnesota); Chaffey College (California); Northeast Community College (Nebraska); Odessa College (Texas); Pasadena City College (California); and San Jacinto College (Texas).