PITTSBURG, CA: The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program today named Los Medanos College (LMC) as one of 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. Based on strong and improving student outcomes – in areas that include learning, completion rates, employment rates and earnings, and equity – 15% of community colleges nationwide have been invited to apply for the Aspen Prize.
“Receiving this recognition from the Aspen Institute is incredibly rewarding for our entire College community,” said Dr. Bob Kratochvil, president of Los Medanos College. “LMC is keenly focused on increasing the learning, equitable outcomes, and success of our students – and, to that end, has embraced the notion of continuous improvement in everything we do. Being a ‘Top 150 U.S. Community College’ is a tremendous acknowledgment of the outstanding efforts, innovation, and commitment of our faculty, classified professionals, and management team.”
This is the third time in succession that Los Medanos College has been named as an “Aspen Prize Top 150 U.S. Community College.” LMC was previously recognized and eligible to apply for the Aspen Prize during the 2017 and 2019 award cycles.
The 150 community colleges named today as eligible to compete for the 2021 Aspen Prize were selected from a pool of nearly 1,000 public two-year colleges nationwide using publicly available data on student outcomes. Located in 39 states in urban, rural, and suburban areas – and serving as few as 500 students and as many as 75,000 students – these colleges represent the diversity and depth of the community college sector.
Data show that, over the last two years, student retention, graduation rates, and degree completion have improved at the top tier of 150 Aspen Prize-eligible colleges.
“Community colleges play a vital role in developing talent and enabling social mobility across the country, and it’s critical for them to get better at what they do,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “We’re pleased to see evidence that these institutions are improving, that more are delivering on their promise. We’re also pleased to play a role in honoring outstanding community colleges and sharing what works to ensure great outcomes for students – through graduation and beyond.”
The top 10 finalists for the 2021 Aspen Prize will be named in May 2020. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data, including employment and earnings data. A distinguished jury will make award decisions in Spring 2021.
Previous winners of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence are: Miami Dade College (FL) and Indian River State College (FL), 2019; Lake Area Technical College (SD), 2017; Santa Fe College (FL), 2015; Santa Barbara City College (CA) and Walla Walla Community College (WA), 2013; and Valencia College (FL), 2011.
For a full list of the top 150 institutions eligible for the 2021 Aspen Prize and to read more on the selection process, please visit www.highered.aspeninstitute.org/aspen-prize.
As an “Aspen Prize Top 150 U.S. Community College,” Los Medanos College is also eligible to apply for the Excellence and Equity in Community College STEM Award. A partnership between the Aspen Institute and the Siemens Foundation, the Excellence and Equity in Community College STEM Award highlights the benefits to individuals, communities, and business/industry by exceptional community college programs that prepare diverse students for jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Eight programs will be awarded $50,000 to use toward further program development and student scholarships.
To learn more about the Excellence and Equity in Community College STEM Award, please visit http://highered.aspeninstitute.org/siemens-aspen-stem/.
# # #
Los Medanos College (LMC), one of three colleges in the Contra Costa Community College District, has served the East Contra Costa County community since 1974. LMC offers award-winning transfer and career-technical programs, high-quality support services, and diverse academic opportunities in an engaging and inclusive learning environment. With exceptional educators, innovative curriculum, growing degree and certificate offerings, strong regional partnerships, and state-of-the-art facilities, the College prepares students to succeed in their educational pursuits, in the workforce, and beyond. LMC’s Pittsburg Campus is located on 120 acres near the Antioch border, with an additional education center in Brentwood. For more information about classes, academic programs, and support services at Los Medanos College, please visit www.losmedanos.edu.
The Aspen Prize is generously funded by ECMC Foundation, Joyce Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and Siemens Foundation.
The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes, especially for the growing population of low-income students and students of color on American campuses. For more information, visit http://highered.aspeninstitute.org/ and www.linkedin.com/showcase/aspenhighered and follow @AspenHigherEd on Twitter.
The Aspen Institute is a community-serving organization with global reach whose vision is a free, just, and equitable society. For 70 years, the Institute has driven change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the world’s greatest challenges. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Institute has offices in Aspen, Colorado, and New York City, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.