Special to The Collegian

For the second consecutive year, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program has named LCCC one of the top 120 community colleges in the country. LCCC was again the only Ohio community college named in this list.
“As Lorain County residents continue to choose LCCC to start their educations or re-tool themselves for a new career, this gives them independent verification that they’ll receive a high quality education,” said LCCC President Dr. Roy A. Church. “It also sets the bar high for us as an institution to continually strive to provide the best services and education possible.”

The Aspen Institute identified the 120 community colleges – 10 percent of all institutions – by assessing performance and improvement in four areas: graduation rates, degrees awarded, student retention rates, and equity in student outcomes.  These colleges will now compete for the award following a year-long research process into how well students learn, complete degrees, and get jobs with competitive wages after graduating.

A full list of the 120 community colleges is available at www.AspenCCPrize.org.

LCCC is now eligible to submit an application containing data on these criteria. It must demonstrate that it delivers exceptional student results, uses data to drive decisions, and continually improves.

The Aspen Institute will conduct site visits to each of the finalists in the fall. A distinguished Prize Jury co-chaired by John Engler, president of Business Roundtable, former Michigan Governor, and former president of the National Association of Manufacturers and Richard Riley, former South Carolina Governor and U.S. Secretary of Education, will select a grand prize winner and four runners-up, to be announced in March 2013. The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program challenges community colleges to compete for a $1 million fund.

While every community college faces challenges, particularly in today’s economic climate, Secretary Riley underscored the importance of improving outcomes for community college students.

“Many community colleges across this country are doing an excellent job of boosting student success, but we need to encourage all community colleges to achieve excellence. When students learn more, graduate or transfer to four-year institutions, and get competitive-wage jobs after college, it helps everyone – students, employers and our nation’s economy as a whole,” said Riley.