Every other year, the Aspen Institute and its partners recognize one college that is outstanding in the areas of student learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer rates, access and success for minority and low-income students, and rates of employment and earning for graduates. EMSI clients—who use labor market data to make informed decisions, advise students, and achieve strategic success in these areas—have consistently won the award.
This year, Santa Fe College of Florida was selected from 1,123 public community colleges for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. In 2013, Walla Walla Community College of Washington was a co-recipient, and in 2011, Valencia College of Florida won the inaugural Prize. All three schools are Analyst, Career Coach, and Economic Impact Study clients.
In fact, nine of the top 10 colleges considered for this year’s award use EMSI data.
Santa Fe: Keeping Students on Track With Valuable Degrees
Among other accomplishments, Santa Fe College’s excellent student success record—in terms of degree completion, transfer rates, and employment outcomes—earned the school this prestigious award.
“Santa Fe College particularly stands out for its exceptional work in keeping students on track to graduate with degrees that have incredible value after they graduate,” said Joshua Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program and author of What Excellent Community Colleges Do. “The results are clear: Santa Fe graduates have one of the highest transfer and bachelor’s attainment rates in the country as well as strong employment and earnings outcomes.”
Some of Santa Fe’s most notable achievements include the following:
- As many as one-half of University of Florida transfer students come from Santa Fe.
- Nearly two in three Santa Fe students who transfer complete their bachelor’s degree.
- The college offers baccalaureate programs in several fields, such as nursing and industrial biotechnology.
- Santa Fe’s graduate/transfer rate is more than 50% higher than the national average for community colleges.
- Santa Fe’s collaborative and comprehensive early alert system, which involves faculty members and advisors in the intervention process, has effectively increased student success.
- Santa Fe’s minority students earn credentials at a rate well above the national average (49% Santa Fe College; 34% US).
Congratulations to Finalists
We’d also like to congratulate a number of EMSI clients who were finalists for the Aspen Prize. These colleges have done outstanding work, finding innovative and data-driven ways to lead students toward opportunity and improve economic prosperity in their regions.
Finalists with Distinction
West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah, Kentucky
City Colleges of Chicago – Kennedy-King in Chicago, Illinois
Brazosport College in Lake Jackson, Texas
El Paso Community College in El Paso, Texas
CUNY Hostos Community College in the Bronx, New York
Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, Florida
Olympic College in Bremerton, Washington
Renton Technical College in Renton, Washington
To read more about Santa Fe College and the 2015 Aspen Prize finalists, click here.