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Aspen Institute Awards Community College Excellence


March 20, 2013


Aspen Institute Awards Community College Excellence

Yesterday, Santa Barbara City College in California and Walla Walla Community College in Washington were recognized as co-winners of the 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

According to Josh Wyner, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program, both schools excel at preparing students for jobs and for transfer to four-year colleges. Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) has focused on alignment and support services that help students meet the standards to transfer to and excel at four-year colleges.  This has paid off in its high transfer rate: 64 percent of first-time, full-time students transfer or graduate within three years compared with the national average of 40 percent, reports the Aspen Institute. In addition, SBCC has created the largest dual enrollment program among California's 112 community colleges.

Walla Walla has concentrated on the regional labor market, working closely with businesses and adding and trimming courses based on industry needs. Walla Walla also mandates personal, academic and career advising and uses technology to counsel students and track their progress to a degree. A sign of their success is graduate earnings: in 2011, new graduates earned $41,548, which is about 80 percent higher than the wages of other new hires in the region.

In addition to the winners, 8 other institutions were recognized as exemplary community colleges:

Finalists with Distinction

Lake Area Technical Institute (Watertown, SD)
Kingsborough Community College-CUNY (Brooklyn, NY)


Brazosport College (Lake Jackson, TX)
Broward College (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
College of the Ouachitas (Malvern, AR)
Santa Fe College (Gainesville, FL)
Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College (Cumberland, KY)
West Kentucky Community and Technical College (Paducah, KY)

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