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(LAKE WORTH, Fla. – Nov. 5, 2019) Palm Beach State College was named today as one of the 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.
The colleges were picked by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program from a pool of nearly 1,000 public two-year colleges using publicly available data that showed strong and improving student outcomes in learning, completion rates, employment rates and earnings, and equity.
“We are pleased to be named a Top 150 U.S. Community College once again and to have an opportunity to apply for the Aspen Prize,’’ said PBSC President Ava L. Parker. “This validates the work that we are doing as an institution and through our Panther Strong 2023 Strategic Plan to help all students excel and reach their highest potential.”
The 150 community colleges named today are located in 39 states in urban, rural, and suburban areas, serving as few as 500 students and as many as 75,000 students, and they represent the diversity and depth of the community college sector.
Data shows 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 ten finalists for the 2021 Aspen Prize, which is funded by ECMC Foundation, Joyce Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and Siemens Foundation, 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.
Serving 49,000 students annually, Palm Beach State College is the largest institution of higher education in Palm Beach County, providing bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, professional certificates, career training and lifelong learning. Established in 1933 as Florida's first public community college, Palm Beach State offers more than 130 programs of study at locations in Lake Worth, Boca Raton, Palm Beach Gardens, Belle Glade and Loxahatchee Groves.