Texas Community Colleges Recognized for Excellence / Public Information Service

AUSTIN, Texas – San Antonio College (SAC) is the 2021 recipient of the so-called “Oscars” for outstanding achievement by a community college, and the reason is its commitment to students who have often find it difficult to stay in school.

the Aspen Award for Community College Excellence is given every two years.

Dr Robert Vela, president of SAC, said the 95-year-old institution is focused on serving people in its immediate environment in some of the poorest postcodes in the country, with low graduation rates and high unemployment rates.

“It is very difficult for a large urban institution to achieve excellence and achieve that kind of success,” said Vela. “So we make sure to prepare students for success, in the job market or in a university setting. “

SAC will receive $ 600,000 for its first place in areas such as certificate and diploma completion, job success and equity for students of color and low income. Amarillo College, Odessa College and San Jacinto College were also recognized.

Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, said four of the 10 finalists were in the Lone Star State, testifying to the state’s investment in improving community colleges.

“We’re looking at which colleges are achieving the highest, fastest, and fairest improvement,” Wyner explained. “And it really is a testament to the hard work that has been done by so many entities in the state of Texas.”

Vela has pointed out in the past that many prospective students avoid community college if they can afford a four-year institution, but since President Joe Biden promoted them to the American Families Plan, Vela thinks a lot of people take a second look.

“It gives you options,” Vela observed. “And for so many years we’ve been coined as ‘you settle in.’ But given our environment, given our economic position that we all find ourselves in, it’s actually a very smart decision to make. , financially. “

Two-thirds of SAC students are Hispanic, Black or Native American. Vela added 52% of students who enroll in either a degree or transfer within three years, compared to the national average of 46%.

Support for this report was provided by the Lumina Foundation.

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