Seminole State a semifinalist for the 2023 Aspen Prize

One of 25 Colleges eligible for $1 Million prize

Wednesday, April 27, 2022
Written by: Seminole State Staff

Seminole State College of Florida has been named one of 25 semifinalists for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, adding a milestone in the award selection process. The $1 million Aspen Prize is the nation’s signature recognition of community colleges that are achieving high, improving, and equitable outcomes for students.

Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence

In years past, only ten finalists have been named on the road to the winner, and this change is designed to highlight the increased number of colleges across the country doing excellent work. Awarded every two years, the Aspen Prize honors colleges with outstanding performance in five critical areas: teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s attainment, workforce success, and equitable outcomes for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds. The winner will be announced in the spring of 2023.

“We are thrilled to see America's community colleges making meaningful and measurable progress, educating people from all backgrounds and preparing them for good jobs,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. He cited graduation rates that have risen more than six percent for all students since 2015, and five percent for students of color. “These twenty-five colleges represent our dreams for a better country and a reinvigorated democracy.”

“We are honored that Seminole State has, for the second time, been invited to apply for the prestigious Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The semifinalist recognition reflects our commitment to be a national leader in academic programs and the services we provide our students,” said Dr. Georgia L. Lorenz, president of Seminole State College.

The semifinalists are:

Amarillo College, TX
Broward College, FL
Cloud County Community College, KS
Elgin Community College, IL
Georgia Highlands College, GA
Harper College, IL
Hostos Community College (CUNY), NY
Imperial Valley College, CA
Itawamba Community College, MS
Kingsborough Community College (CUNY), NY
LaGuardia Community College (CUNY), NY
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, MS
Moorpark College, CA
North Iowa Area Community College, IA
Northwest Iowa Community College, IA
Pierce College District, WA
San Jacinto College, TX
Seminole State College of Florida, FL
South Florida State College, FL
South Puget Sound Community College, WA
Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, WI
Southwestern Community College, NC
Tallahassee Community College, FL
Union County College, NJ
Western Technical College, WI

The Prize selection process began this past October, when the Aspen Institute invited 150 community colleges to apply, based on data showing strong and improving student outcomes in key areas such as retention, completion, transfer, and equity. Applications went to a diverse selection committee of 16 higher education experts who reviewed extensive data and application narratives. Next, the committee will review interviews with leadership teams and narrow this selection of 25 semifinalists to 10 finalists, to be announced in early June 2022. 

After 10 finalists are announced, next steps include: 

  • Fall 2022: Multi-day site visits to each of the 10 finalists, when teams of experts collect even more student outcomes data and gather insights about effective practices
  • Winter of 2023: A distinguished jury decides who wins the Aspen Prize, based on quantitative data and qualitative information from each of the 10 finalists
  • Late spring 2023: Announcement of the Aspen Prize winner 

The Aspen Prize is generously funded by Ascendium, the Joyce Foundation, JPMorgan, and the Kresge Foundation. Previous winners are: 

  • 2021 - San Antonio College (TX)
  • 2019 - Indian River State College (FL) and Miami Dade College (FL)
  • 2017 - Lake Area Technical Institute (SD)
  • 2015 - Santa Fe College (FL)
  • 2013 - Santa Barbara City College (CA) and Walla Walla Community College (WA)
  • 2011 - Valencia College (FL)

About Seminole State College

Seminole State College of Florida, established in 1965, serves nearly 30,000 students across six sites in Central Florida. A comprehensive college, Seminole State has awarded more than 100,000 credentials, from bachelor's degrees to high school diplomas, and offers more than 200 degrees, certificates and programs designed for success. For more about the college, visit
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About the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program supports colleges and universities in their quest to achieve a higher standard of excellence, delivering credentials that unlock life-changing careers and strengthen our economy, society, and democracy. We know it takes visionary college leaders to lead scaled, sustainable reforms, and we make it our mission to equip them with the knowledge, skills, and research-backed tools to inspire change, shift practice, and advance the capacity of colleges to deliver excellent and equitable student outcomes. For more information, visit our website and follow us on LinkedIn and X.