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Indian River State College Named Number One in the Nation by Aspen Institute

Indian River State College Named Number One in the Nation by Aspen Institute

April 2, 2019 Suzanne Seldes

Today, the Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C., awarded its highest honor, the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, to Indian River State College. The award is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges.

IRSC students and employees celebrate winning the 2019 Aspen Prize.

IRSC was selected from more than 1,000 state and community colleges following a rigorous review of data, strategies, and outcomes related to student learning, degree and certificate completion, high rates of graduate employment, earnings for graduates, and exceptional access and success for minority and low-income students.

“The 2019 Aspen Prize is a credit to the people of Indian River State College and the outstanding communities we serve,” said Dr. Edwin Massey, President of IRSC. “From our Trustees, to our community partners, to our employees, to our dedicated students, IRSC is enriched with some of the most incredible people supporting our college mission, and this distinct honor validates their commitment on a national level. Bringing home the Aspen Prize is truly a celebration of their hard work.”

According to the Aspen Institute, Indian River State College stands out as one of the nation’s top community colleges for many reasons, including:

  • IRSC has a 56 percent transfer rate, compared to the national average of 32 percent;
  • IRSC has a 52 percent Bachelor’s attainment rate for students who go on to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree, compared to the national average transfer rate of 42 percent; and
  • IRSC alumni earn $41,492 on average five years after graduation, compared to the $38,714 average salary of all regional workers.

Additional factors underscore IRSC’s commitment to student success:

  • During the 2017-2018 academic year, IRSC’s graduating class—3,951 students—was the largest in the College’s 58-year history;
  • 94% of IRSC graduates find employment or continue their education, typically earning more than twice the average entry wage in the four-county area; and
  • IRSC is designated as the 3rd Most Affordable College in the U.S. by the Department of Education, with no tuition increase in six years.

The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence is awarded every two years and is generously funded by ECMC Foundation, Joyce Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and Siemens Foundation. IRSC has been selected as a top ten finalist for the award in each of the past three program cycles. In 2017, the College advanced to the Aspen Prize Top 3 as a Finalist with Distinction.

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