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Broward College Named Among ASPEN Top Ten Finalist for 2017

Contact: Gingle Lee
Senior Program Manager
Aspen College Excellence Program
202-736-3504 |


Florida One of Only Three States in US with Multiple Finalists

$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 – Florida’s Broward College and Indian River State 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.

Broward College (63,000 students) (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

“Broward College has made incredible strides in achieving higher levels of college students success since they were last named a finalist for the 2013 Prize,” said Joshua Wyner, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program in Washington, D.C. “Their new educational model, called pathways, matches courses with what students need when they leave Broward College for high-demand jobs or four-year transfer. As a result, the college has made significant advances in the number of students who complete their degrees, how long it takes them to do so, and reducing excess credits.”

Broward College earned a place on the top ten finalists’ list for a second time after being named a finalist in 2013. The institution stands out as one of the nation’s top community colleges for many reasons, including:

• Virtually no gap in three-year graduation/transfer rates between all students (47 percent) and underrepresented minorities (46 percent), compared to the national average (34 percent) for minorities
• Clear career-oriented program pathways for all students
• Mandatory academic advising when students reach half- and three-quarter-completion milestones to ensure they are on the path to graduation or have what’s needed to transfer to a four-year university

Indian River State College (24,000 students) (Fort Pierce, FL)

“Indian River State College’s efforts to get and keep students on clear program pathways aligned with labor market needs serves as a model for community colleges across the country,” said Joshua Wyner, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program in Washington, D.C. “IRSC students have access to advisors that guide them from their first day through graduation, helping them define goals, map the most direct routes to achieving them, and continually chart their progress.”

Indian River State College earned a place on the top ten finalists’ list for a second time after being named a finalist in 2015. The institution stands out as one of the nation’s top community colleges for many reasons, including:

• 49 percent of students graduate or transfer within three years (compared to 39 percent nationally)
• Associate degree earners who go on to the upper-level at IRSC or transfer to other institutions (and attend full-time), earn a bachelor’s degree at a rate of approximately 73% within four years
• Policies focused on making sure students complete classes and graduate, including widely utilized early interventions by instructors and financial aid advisors

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#
o Contact: Don Cook, 954-201-7238, 
• Chaffey College – Rancho Cucamonga, CA
• Indian River State College – Fort Pierce, FL#
o Contact: Andy Treadwell, 772-462-4804,
• Lake Area Technical Institute, Watertown, SD*
• Northeast Community College – Norfolk, NE
• Odessa College – Odessa, TX
• Pasadena City College – Pasadena, CA
• 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
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. For more information, visit


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