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National recognition puts LCCC in running for $1 million prize

GODFREY – Lewis and Clark Community College is officially among the Top 150 community colleges across the nation eligible to win the $1 million 2021 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence for strong and improving student outcomes.

“We are honored to receive this prestigious designation in recognition of excellence in retention and success in helping students achieve both their career and life goals,” said LCCC President Dale Chapman. “People often say Lewis and Clark is among the best community colleges in the nation. This is great evidence those high expectations are well-placed.”

According to a press release from the Aspen Institute, the designation is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. The Top 150 represent the top 15 percent of institutions that, over the last two years, have improved student retention, graduation rates and degree completion.

“Community colleges play a vital role in developing talent and enabling social mobility across the country,” 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 150 community colleges 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, 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.

The top ten 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.

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.

“Faculty and staff have worked collaboratively to increase student outcomes,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs Linda Chapman. “New programs and practices have led to improvements in student success and retention. It is motivating to be cited by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program.”

Previous winners of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence are: Miami Dade College (Florida) and Indian River State College (Florida), 2019; Lake Area Technical College (South Dakota), 2017; Santa Fe College (Florida), 2015; Santa Barbara City College (California) and Walla Walla Community College (Washington), 2013; Valencia College (Florida), 2011.

The Aspen Prize is funded by ECMC Foundation, Joyce Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and Siemens Foundation.

PHOTO: Potential students visit the Godfrey campus during LCCC Discover Days. File.

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