Two Central Coast community colleges rank high
April 27, 2011
Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara City College are named today as two of the best community colleges in the nation, according to the non-profit Aspen Institute.
The schools are now eligible to compete for part of a $1 million dollar fund, the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence where the winners will be selected in December.
The Aspen Institute, a humanistic studies organization, sought out to find the top 10 percent of the nearly 1,200 community colleges in America and released its list today of the 120 best schools, all two-year institutions.
The two Central Coast campuses join three other California institutions on the list including Coastline Community College in Fountain Valley, San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, and Mt. San Antonia College in Walnut. The remaining 115 colleges recognized in the ranking are located in 31 other states.
The Aspen Institute says it conducted a comprehensive review of available data from nearly 1,200 U.S. community colleges. It analyzed a series of factors including graduation and retention rates, and the total number of degrees and certificates awarded relative to total enrollment, taking into account part and full-time students.
In selecting the schools, the institute measured performance and improvement of students overall and took a closer look at how minorities performed at each college.
Citing the fact that more than six-million people enroll in America’s community colleges each year, the Aspen Institute says that an “unprecedented” number of students are choosing those programs over four-year universities where the costs are becoming increasingly out of reach for families.
“We cannot be satisfied merely with the fact that students are admitted to college. We must set the bar for community colleges much higher,” said Aspen Institute College Excellence Program Executive Director Josh Wyner in a statement today.
“To ensure student success and fuel economic growth for communities and the nation, community colleges must—now more than ever—make a commitment to excellence and stronger student outcomes,” he continued.