On November 2, 2021, The Aspen Institute named West Los Angeles College (WLAC) one of the 150 institutions 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.
Former President Barack Obama described the Aspen Prize as “basically the Oscars for great community colleges.” The colleges selected for this honor stand out among more than 1,000 community colleges nationwide as having high and improving levels of student success as well as equitable outcomes for Black and Hispanic students and those from lower-income backgrounds.
“Being selected as an Aspen Prize Top 150 Community College for 2023 is a direct reflection of the ongoing commitment of our faculty and staff to our students’ success. On behalf of everyone at West Los Angeles College, we are honored to be accorded this national recognition,” said Dr. James M. Limbaugh, WLAC President.
The Aspen Prize spotlights exemplary community colleges in order to elevate the sector, drive attention to colleges doing the best work, and discover and share highly effective student success and equity strategies. Since 2010, Aspen has chosen to focus intensively on community colleges because they are—as First Lady Dr. Jill Biden stated at the 2021 Aspen Prize ceremony—“a powerful engine of prosperity.”
West was also recently recognized by several other organizations. Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education named West one of 2021 Top 100 Colleges and Universities in the categories of “2019-2020 Total Enrollment 4-year Schools” and “2019-2020 Total Associate Degrees Granted.” The Campaign for College Opportunity, founded by the California Business Roundtable, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the Community College League of California, named West a “2021 Equity Champion of Higher Education.” EduMed.org awarded West top honors in “Best Online Dental Hygiene Programs” and “Best Dental Assistant Programs Online.” And, West was included in the top 20 on the “2020 Best Online Community Colleges in California” list published by OnlineU.com
The 150 eligible colleges have been invited to submit data and narratives as the next steps in an intensive data and practice review process, culminating in the announcement of the prize winner in spring 2023.
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