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The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program named Los Medanos College (LMC) one of 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges.

Based on strong and improving student outcomes – in areas including learning, completion rates, employment rates, earnings and equity – 15% of community colleges nationwide have been invited to apply for the Aspen Prize.

“Receiving this recognition from the Aspen Institute is incredibly rewarding for our entire college community,” said Dr. Bob Kratochvil, LMC president. “LMC is keenly focused on increasing the learning, equitable outcomes, and success of our students – and, to that end, has embraced the notion of continuous improvement in everything we do.” 

This is the third consecutive time LMC has been named as an Aspen Prize Top 150 U.S. Community College. It was previously recognized and eligible to apply for the Aspen Prize during the 2017 and 2019 award cycles.

Data show that, over the last two years, student retention, graduation rates and degree completion have improved at the top tier of 150 Aspen Prize-eligible colleges.

“Community colleges play a vital role in developing talent and enabling social mobility across the country, and it’s critical for them to get better at what they do,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program.

The top 10 finalists will be named in May 2020. The Aspen Institute will conduct site visits to finalists and collect additional data, including employment and earnings data. A jury will make decisions in spring 2021. 

LMC is also eligible to apply for the Excellence and Equity in Community College STEM Award. A partnership between the Aspen Institute and the Siemens Foundation, the Excellence and Equity in Community College STEM Award highlights benefits to individuals, communities, business and industry by exceptional community college programs that prepare diverse students for jobs in STEM fields. Eight programs will be awarded $50,000 to use toward program development and scholarships.