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San Jacinto College Named One of the Top Community Colleges in the Country


Source: The Pasadena Citizen

The Aspen Institute has named San Jacinto College one of the top community colleges in the country, and a finalist for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The college will now have an opportunity to compete for the $1 million fund for the 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

Highlighting the critical importance of improving student success in America’s community colleges, the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program identified the 120 community colleges – 10 percent of all institutions – using a quantitative formula that assesses performance and improvement in four areas: graduation rates, degrees awarded, student retention rates, and equity in student outcomes. The 120 colleges will now compete for the prestigious honor following a yearlong research process into how well their students learn, complete degrees, and get jobs with competitive wages after graduating.

“It’s an honor to be selected as one of the top 120 community colleges in the country,” said San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer. “It is because of the outstanding work and dedication of our faculty and staff that our students are succeeding, no matter their educational goal.

“In today’s economic climate, we understand the importance of a college education and a skilled workforce, and we remain committed to helping our students obtain their certificate or degree.”

The 120 community colleges were selected from a national pool of more than 1,000 two-year colleges using data that is publicly available on student outcomes. Ten finalists will be named in September, and a distinguished prize jury will select a grand prize winner and four runners-up, to be announced in March 2013.

The inaugural Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence was awarded to Valencia College in Orlando, Fla., in December 2011. It was the first broad national recognition of extraordinary accomplishments at individual community colleges.

"The success of our nation's community colleges is more important than ever before," said Aspen Institute College Excellence Program Executive Director Josh Wyner who announced the names of the 120 top community colleges at the annual convention of the American Association of Community Colleges in Orlando, Fla.

"At a time when a college degree is essential to entering the middle class, community colleges offer the most promising path to education and employment for literally millions of Americans. This competition spotlights excellence and helps raise the bar for all community colleges to improve student achievement and better prepare the next generation for the job market after college."

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