Recently the Aspen Institute gave out its first price for community college excellence. The winner, apparently, is Valencia College, a community college in Orlando, Florida.

According to an article by Dave Weber in the Orlando Sentinel:

The Aspen… on Monday named Valencia as the winner of its Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Valencia was singled out from among 1,200 colleges and received a $600,000 cash prize.

Colleges were evaluated based on students gaining knowledge and skills, completing degree or certificate programs and obtaining jobs with good wages after graduation. Assuring that minority students have an equal shot at enrolling in and completing college also was a factor.

Valencia, which costs $99.06 per credit hour for Florida residents, has about 70,000 students. Within three years about 40 percent graduate or transfer to four-year schools.

Valencia has six colleges in Central Florida.

Aspen, which plans to give out the prize annually, selected the institution from 120 other promising community colleges. [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer