2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Top 10

2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Top 10

August 15, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


For those of us who work in the Alamo
Colleges District, nothing is more important than providing knowledge and
skills that can make a positive and lasting impact on the lives of our
students, their families, businesses, and of course our community.
It’s that work that led to four of our five colleges – Northwest Vista College,
St. Philip’s College, San Antonio College and Palo Alto College being named to the
prestigious list of the top 150 community colleges in the United States
that are now eligible to compete for the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College
excellence. This is real success, and it validates the hard work and passion that
our faculty and staff pour into our students every single day. Now Palo Alto
College has been named as a Top 10 Community College in the U.S. and may have a chance at a real million dollar prize that comes with the Aspen Award given
once every two years by the Washington D.C.-based
Aspen Institute to community colleges who promote achievement in learning,
certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and high levels
of access and success for minority and limited income students. Fact is, That’s
the history of Palo Alto College. This college was champion into existence in
1985 by people who believe that college should be accessible to everyone and
made that happen in an underserved part of our community. But with nearly a
thousand other community colleges competing for the Aspen Award, how did we
make the Top 10? Palo Alto College stands out as one of the nation’s top community
colleges for many reasons, including: incredible improvement in three year
graduation / transfer rates, from 28 percent in 2011 to 47 percent in 2015; a
bachelor’s completion rate after its students transferred to a four-year
institution that is 8 percentage points higher than the national average; strong
pathways and advising systems that result in students taking the right
courses, including math courses which across the country impede many community
college students from succeeding; partnerships with eight K through 12 school
districts to provide up to 60 college credit hours free to high school
students. Now, that million-dollar prize? We can think of plenty of innovative
ways for Palo Alto College to use it, but we can’t think of any better way to
prove that we’re worthy of this honor than by continuing to transform the
lives of the students we serve, holding true to one of our core values: Students First.