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Aspen Prize For Community College Excellence

Joyce-sponsored Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence honors the nation’s top 10 community colleges

Orlando-based Valencia College received the first ever Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence in a ceremony honoring the work of the country’s top community colleges. Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden; Prize Jury co-chairs, former Michigan Governor John Engler and former US Secretary of Education Richard Riley; and US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan all spoke of the important role community colleges as gateways to four-year institutions, and most central to Joyce’s work – providing workforce training programs that help adult students get good-paying jobs in their communities.

Watch The Prize Presentation

The four finalists with distinction are:

The other finalists are

Valencia College was singled out for its comprehensive range of programs that provide pathways to technical certification and associates degrees that guarantee admission to the University of Central Florida. The school’s Start Right program, which reimagines how the school year begins for students and professors, and Student Success, which provides personalized education plans for students clustered in learning communities, are two examples of Valencia’s approach to tailoring curriculum to meet student needs.

Thirteen million Americans attend community colleges, and more than half of those students are working toward a degree or certificate. Despite the role these institutions have in postsecondary education, community colleges are frequently under-recognized, under-appreciated, and undervalued. The Aspen Prize distributed $1 million to community colleges that demonstrate measurable excellence. More importantly, the Prize brings attention to the importance of community colleges and honors leaders within the field. The competition is sponsored the Aspen Institute and supported by Joyce, the Lumina Foundation for Education, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.

Learn More
Download: Aspen Prize best practices and lessons learned
Read the White House Aspen Prize blog post.


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