The $1 million dollar prize, which is awarded every two years, recognizes institutions for outstanding 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 colleges were chosen from a pool of over 1,000 public community colleges nationwide.
“Our colleges lead the nation in providing a high-quality, affordable education that prepares students to succeed in a global economy,” said Florida College System Chancellor Madeline Pumariega in a press release. “I am proud to celebrate two of our colleges being named as finalists for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Our colleges being honored for their dedication to student success and the vital role they play in Florida’s economy is a testament of the great work of the Florida College System.”
The prize will be awarded in March 2017 in Washington D.C. to the winner and up to four finalists with distinction. This is the second time Broward College and Indian River State College have been named finalists for the award.
The two Florida colleges stand out as top community colleges in the nation for several reasons, including the career-oriented program pathways for students at Broward College and an outstanding employment and continuing education rate of 94.1% for students at Indian River State College.
This isn’t the first time Florida colleges have received national attention for their accomplishments. Santa Fe College received the Aspen Award in 2015 while Valencia College walked away with the inaugural prize in 2011.
For the full list of finalists and to learn more about the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, read the Aspen Institute’s press release here.