Monday, May 21 , 2018, 5:45 pm | Mostly Cloudy 65º


Program Ranks SBCC in Top 10% of Community Colleges Nationwide

The college is eligible to compete for $1 million in prize funds from the Aspen Institute

In its first step to identify the nation’s best community colleges and award $1 million in prize money, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program has ranked SBCC as one of the nation’s 120 best community colleges (from nearly 1,200 accredited, public community colleges nationwide), challenging it to compete for $1 million in prize funds (to be announced in December) by insisting on high standards for learning, college completion without delay and serving as a training ground for jobs that pay competitive wages.

Click here for the full list of eligible institutions.

“We must set the bar much higher than we have in the past,” Aspen Institute College Excellence Program Executive Director Josh Wyner said. “To achieve excellent student outcomes, we need to highlight our country’s success stories and learn from them so that we can keep reaching higher. Recognizing community colleges like Santa Barbara City College sends a message to others that aspire to excellence, while encouraging Santa Barbara City College to apply for the nation’s top community college prize. As a country, now more than ever, we need all community colleges to graduate more students with the knowledge and degrees they need to be successful in the workforce.”

Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan attended the Aspen Institute’s announcement event on Monday. The Aspen Prize was announced at the White House Summit on Community Colleges hosted by President Barack Obama and Dr. Biden in October. At that time, the president noted how critical community colleges are to the millions of youth and adult learners who enroll in America’s nearly 1,200 community colleges every year.

Over the coming five months, an Expert Selection Committee will select eight to 10 finalists, publicizing each finalist institution’s achievements broadly this fall. The finalists will be selected in September based on how much students learn, how many complete their programs on time and how well students do in the job market after graduating. Aspen will conduct site visits to each of the finalists in the fall. And, based on the evidence, in December, a Prize Jury will announce at a highly visible event in Washington, D.C., a winner of the top prize ($700,000) and two or three runners-up (which will each receive $100,000 to $150,000).

SBCC is now eligible to submit an application containing detailed data on these criteria. The application is due June 17.

The Aspen Prize is funded by the Joyce Foundation, the Lumina Foundation for Education, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.

— Andreea Serban is superintendent/president of SBCC.


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