Kingsborough Community College is the best community college in the country — almost.
The Manhattan Beach institution was named as a finalist with distinction in a contest to decide the nation’s finest community college by the Aspen Institute, an educational and policy think tank.
The top honors ultimately went to Santa Barbara City College and Walla Walla Community College, but Kingsborough still received $100,000 in prize winnings, and that’s not half bad. Even a third-place showing is impressive considering that over 1,600 community colleges were in the running.
“Everybody’s ecstatic,” exclaimed Kingsborough president Regina Peruggi. “We felt really great to be one of the top ten finalists and we feel even better being one of the finalists with distinction.”
A well-regarded feature of Kingsborough’s curriculum, and one that ultimately led to the school’s high-level placement in the Aspen Institute’s rankings, is a program called Learning Community. It combines three freshman classes, their instructors, and an advisor who work individually with students to prepare them for the subsequent three years.
“A recent independent study demonstrated that Kingsborough’s learning communities notably improve student success, with increases in retention rates more than offsetting the cost,” read an Aspen Institute write up on the college’s success.
Furthermore, Kingsborough is well ahead of the curve when it comes to graduation and transfer rates amongst students, as well as the career prospects enjoyed by the students it graduates when compared to other schools, according to Josh Wyner, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program.
“Kingsborough Community College has achieved strong results in graduation, transfer, and employment outcomes while working with an extremely diverse group of students, many who face challenging life circumstances,” said Wyner. “Its staff and faculty are deeply committed to removing the roadblocks that keep so many community college students from finishing what they start.”
Kingsborough’s stats speak for themselves:
• 60-percent of students transfer to four-year colleges, compared with the national average of 26%.
• Five years after completing their degrees, graduates earn about $41,000 — comparable to the wages of all other workers’ in the area.
• 61-percent of first-time, full-time students receive Pell grants, the main federal financial aid program for students.Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cn
©2013 Community News Group
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