PRCC on top once again

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 1, 2014

POPLARVILLE – Pearl River Community College announced recently that it was named one the country’s top 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

The eligibility marks the third time the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program has recognized PRCC for the prize, which carries with it $1 million in funds.

“Pearl River Community College has been extremely fortunate to have been recognized for the third year in a row as being eligible to compete for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence,” said Dr. William Lewis, PRCC president. “This honor is afforded to the top ten percent of community colleges in America. This places Pearl River in a unique position among community colleges nationwide. It is our belief that this is a most significant reflection on the quality of the product produced by our institution.”

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The prize, awarded every two years, is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges and recognizes institutions for exceptional outcomes in student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.

Ten finalists will be named in the fall of 2014 and site visits will be conducted at those colleges. The grand prize winner and a few finalists with distinction will be named in early 2015.

In recent years, several organizations have listed PRCC among the country’s best:

— Create a Career website ranks PRCC as 23rd on its December 2013 list of the 25 Best Community Colleges in the United States.

— website listed PRCC as 28th nationally in 2013.

— CNN Money’s list of top community colleges ranked PRCC 20th in 2012.

— PRCC is listed on the Military Friendly Schools list for 2013 and 2014.

The 150 colleges eligible for the Aspen Prize were selected from more than 1,000 public two-year colleges based on publicly available data on student outcomes.

“I think that it speaks volumes about the level of quality in the educational opportunities we provide here,” said Dr. Justin Williamson, English instructor and president of the Poplarville campus Faculty Association. “Just to be in the company of these other institutions is an honor in itself. It’s a tremendous recognition and honor and it seems to be a really happy trend with the Aspen Prize and the other recognitions.”