Highlighting the critical importance of improving student success in America’s community colleges, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program recently named St. Johns River State College as one of the nation’s top 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence and $1 million in prize funds, as well as Siemens Technical Scholars Program student scholarships.
The Aspen Prize, awarded every two years, is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges and recognizes institutions for exceptional student outcomes in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and access and success for minority and low-income students. Nearly half of America’s college students attend community college, with more than seven million students – youth and adult learners – working toward certificates and degrees in these institutions across the country.
SJR State and 149 other community and state colleges were selected from a national pool of over 1,000 public two-year colleges using publicly available data regarding student outcomes in three areas:
SJR State Board Chairwoman Mary Ellen Hancock congratulated the College on it’s third time as an Aspen Award contender since the award’s debut in 2010. "It is truly gratifying to be recognized nationally for our local endeavors in this vital purpose we all share to provide effective learning environments that ultimately lead to a productive and prosperous workforce."
SJR State has been invited to submit an application to the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence containing detailed data on degree and certificate completion (including progress and transfer rates), labor market outcomes (employment and earnings), and student learning outcomes. Ten finalists will be named in the fall of 2016. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data. A distinguished prize jury will select a grand prize winner and a few finalists with distinction in early 2017.
The Aspen Prize is funded by the Joyce Foundation, the Siemens Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation. For more information about the Aspen Prize, visit www.aspenprize.org.