Press Release: Florida Department of Education
Tallahassee, Fla., March 19, 2013 – Today, the Aspen Institute announced the recipients of the prestigious prize for community college excellence. Florida is one of only two states to have multiple finalists in the top 10. Two Florida College System institutions – Broward College and Santa Fe College – were among the top 10 finalists.
“I am very proud the Aspen Institute recognized two Florida colleges as top 10 in the nation,” said Florida College System Chancellor Randy Hanna. "This announcement comes on the heels of a study that shows the Florida College system has a $26.6 billion economic impact on the state, with a 16.8 percent return on investment for our students. Our system is committed to providing affordable, high-quality education, and this award confirms we are living up to that commitment."
The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence recognizes community colleges that demonstrate students in their colleges gained essential knowledge and skills, completed degree or certificate programs, and obtained jobs with competitive wages. Valencia College in Florida was the first recipient of the prize in 2011.
"Our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community are proud that Broward College is a top 10 institution and that we have twice been recognized by the Aspen Institute as being in the top 10 percent of community colleges in America in previous years," said Broward College President David Armstrong. "We are committed to continuing our work that is leading to even greater student success outcomes and to positively transforming the lives of our students and the fabric of our community."
In a message to Santa Fe College faculty and staff, President Dr. Jackson N. Sasser said, “We are highly honored to be in the company of such august colleagues.” He went on to thank faculty and staff for their part in helping the college achieve the top 10 status, saying, “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you and thank you for all that you accomplish each day. We are very grateful to have been recognized by the Aspen Institute.”
The two Florida colleges were named in the second round of competition for part of the $1 million prize to reward excellence at community colleges with outstanding academic and workforce outcomes. Walla Walla Community College and Santa Barbara City College were selected as co-winners for the 2013 prize. Florida led the nation with 14 of the 120 institutions deemed eligible to apply for the prize in the first round.
For more information, visit the Aspen Institute: http://www.aspeninstitute.org/policy-work/aspen-prize/about