Chaffey College and Pasadena City College Finalists for 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence
Multiple Aspen Prize Finalist Community Colleges a First for California
September 18, 2016
$1 Million Prize for Excellence in Four Areas:
Learning, Degree Completion, Employment and Earnings, and Access and Success for Minority and Low-Income Students; Winner to be Announced in March 2017
Washington, D.C., September 13, 2016 – California's Chaffey College and Pasadena City College were named today as two of ten finalists for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation's preeminent recognition of high achievement and performance in America's community colleges.
The $1 million prize fund will be awarded in March 2017 in Washington, D.C. to the winner and up to four finalists with distinction. (See complete list of finalists below.)
The Prize, awarded every two years since 2011, recognizes outstanding institutions selected from an original pool of more than 1,000 public community colleges nationwide. With a singular focus on student success, 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.
Chaffey College (28,000 students) (Rancho Cucamonga, CA)
"Chaffey College has pioneered some really exciting programs, including its FastTrack program aimed at providing accelerated eight-week courses for its students," said Joshua Wyner, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program in Washington, D.C. "With FastTrack students outperforming others by nearly 10 percentage points, this is the kind of scaled intervention that community colleges across the country ought to pay attention to."
Chaffey College stands out as one of the nation's top community colleges for many reasons, including:
Serves a diverse, historically underrepresented population, of which 81 percent are students of color, more than 60 percent of whom are Hispanic
A high first-year retention rate of 73 percent that's well above the national average of 52 percent
Awarding substantially more degrees per 100 students each year with an increase of 75 percent over five years
Pasadena City College (34,000 students) (Pasadena, CA)
"Pasadena City College has made incredible strides in closing the achievement gap for minority students, especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Not only are PCC's STEM programs dominated by Latino students, but women and first-generation students are also highly represented," said Joshua Wyner, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program in Washington, D.C. "This reflects the college's strong demonstrated commitment to making sure all students succeed both while in college and in promising careers after they graduate."
Pasadena City College stands out as one of the nation's top community colleges for many reasons, including:
Serving a large, diverse population of students, more than 76 percent of which are students of color and 43 percent are the first in their families to attend college
A graduation/transfer rate of 49 percent, well above the national average of 39 percent
A program that fast-tracks graduation by providing priority registration to students who are only a few courses short of completing their degree
A leader among California community colleges for the number of associate degrees for transfer awarded, for the number of associate degrees awarded, and for the number of associate degrees awarded to minorities
Community colleges today enroll nearly half of all US undergraduates-7 million students-working toward degrees and certificates. This includes rapidly growing numbers of low-income and minority students. While fewer than 40 percent of all community college students graduate, Aspen Prize finalist institutions demonstrate that every community college can help more students achieve success while in college and after they graduate.
This fall, the Aspen Institute will conduct a rigorous review process that includes examination of extensive data on performance and improvements in learning, graduation, workforce, and equitable outcomes for all students as well as multi-day site visits to each of the ten finalist institutions. Then, a distinguished Prize Jury of higher education experts will select a grand prize winner and up to four finalists with distinction.
The 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence was awarded to Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida. In 2013, Santa Barbara City College (California) and Walla Walla Community College (Washington) were co-winners. In 2011, Valencia College (Florida) was the inaugural Prize winner. According to the Prize rules, former winners were not eligible to reapply this cycle.
The Aspen Prize Finalists selected today reflect the diversity and richness of American community colleges.
The 2017 Aspen Prize Finalists (listed in alphabetical order):
Two colleges have been named finalists in four consecutive Prize cycles (indicated with *) and two others were finalists for a second time (indicated with #)
Anoka-Ramsey Community College – Coon Rapids, MN
Broward College – Fort Lauderdale, FL#
Chaffey College – Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Contact: Ms. Alisha Rosas, 909-652-6115, [email protected]
Indian River State College – Fort Pierce, FL#
Lake Area Technical Institute – Watertown, SD*
Northeast Community College – Norfolk, NE
Odessa College – Odessa, TX
Pasadena City College – Pasadena, CA
Contact: Alexander Boekelheide, 626-585-7422, [email protected]
San Jacinto College – Pasadena, TX
West Kentucky Community and Technical College – Paducah, KY*
The Aspen Prize is funded by the Joyce Foundation, the Siemens Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation.
The Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes. Through the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the New College Leadership Project, and other initiatives, the College Excellence Program works to improve colleges' understanding and capacity to teach and graduate students, especially the growing population of low-income and minority students on American campuses. For more information, visit http://highered.aspeninstitute.org/aspen-prize/.
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners.