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2 Florida Community Colleges Win Aspen Award

April 3, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Florida's Indian River State College and Miami Dade College are the winners of the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

The award, which comes with a $350,000 prize for each institution, is given every two years to community colleges focused on student success. The colleges received the award Tuesday. The prize is awarded to colleges that show improvement or success in improving student learning, degree completion, transfer and labor-market outcomes, and equitable access and success for students of color and low-income students.

Three colleges received Aspen's Rising Star award for showing a strong record of improvement. They are Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom in Washington State, and Odessa College and Palo Alta College, both in Texas. Each Rising Star institution receives $100,000.

"The future of America is inextricably linked to what [community colleges] do," Miami Dade College president Eduardo Padrón said. Community college leaders "understand and have proven that open access and academic excellence can go hand in hand. For too many years we have suffered from comments of people who believe nothing good, nothing excellent can happen at community colleges. We have proven that is not true," he said.

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Ashley A. Smith

Ashley A. Smith, Reporter, covers community colleges, for-profit schools and non-traditional students for Inside Higher Ed. She joined the publication in 2015 after covering government and K-12 education for the Fort Myers News-Press in Florida for three years. Ashley also covered K-12 and higher education for three years at the Marshfield News-Herald in Wisconsin. She has interned with The Flint Journal, USA Today and the Detroit Free Press. Ashley grew up in Detroit and is a 2008 graduate of Michigan State University. 

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