Student success initiatives make San Jacinto College one of nation’s top community colleges

03.06.2014 | By Amanda L. Booren

Student success initiatives make San Jacinto College one of nation’s top community colleges

 

PASADENA, Texas — Highlighting the critical importance of improving student success in America’s community colleges, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program has named San Jacinto College as one of the nation’s top 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence and $1 million in prize funds.

“It’s an incredible honor to be selected for a second year as one of the top community colleges in the country,” said San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer. “This recognition is due to the vision and leadership of our Board of Trustees, and our dedicated faculty and staff that work diligently each and every day to ensure that our students are completing their goals, graduating with a certificate or degree, and moving on to the next phase – either transferring to further pursue their education, or entering the workforce with the skills they need to succeed.”

The 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 high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.

The Aspen Institute identified the top 150 community colleges through an assessment of institutional performance, improvement, and equity on student retention and completion measures. Together, the 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the Prize represent the diversity and richness of the entire sector. The colleges represent 37 states; urban, rural, and suburban markets; and they encompass large and small community colleges alike.

“Community colleges have tremendous power to change lives, and their success will increasingly define our nation’s economic strength and the potential for social mobility for every American” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “This competition is designed to spotlight the excellent work being done in the most effective community colleges, those that best help students obtain meaningful, high-quality education and training for competitive-wage jobs after college. We hope it will raise the bar and provide a roadmap for community colleges nationwide.”

Nearly half of America’s college students attend community college, with more than seven million students – youth and adult learners – working towards certificates and degrees in these institutions across the country.

San Jacinto College and 149 other community colleges were selected from a national pool of more than 1,000 public two-year colleges using publicly available data on student outcomes. Expert analysts at the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems in consultation with an expert advisory committee convened by the Aspen Institute devised the formula used to select the colleges.

Ten finalists will be named in this Fall. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data, including employment and earnings data from states and transfer data from the National Student Clearinghouse. A distinguished Prize Jury will select a grand prize winner and a few finalists with distinction in early 2015.

The 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence was awarded to co-winners Santa Barbara City College (California) and Walla Walla Community College (Washington).   Valencia College (Florida) was the inaugural Prize winner in 2011. A full list of the 150 community colleges is available at www.AspenPrize.org. Prize winners will be announced in early 2015.

The Aspen Prize is funded by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Joyce Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Lumina Foundation.

 

About The Aspen College Excellence Program
The Aspen College Excellence Program aims to identify and replicate practices and policies that significantly improve college 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’ and policy-makers’ understanding of what is needed to teach and graduate post-secondary students, especially the growing population of low-income and minority students on American campuses. For more information, visit http://www.aspeninstitute.org/cep.

 

About The Aspen Institute
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 www.aspeninstitute.org.

 

About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit www.sanjac.edu, or follow us on Facebook.