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TCC Among 10 Finalists For Aspen Prize For Community College Excellence

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Tallahassee Community College

Tallahassee Community College has been named a finalist for the 2021 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, putting it in the running to win $1 million dollars.

The prize is awarded every two years. Aspen finalists are judged on factors like "teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, workforce success, and equitable outcomes for students of color and low-income students."

TCC President Jim Murdaugh says the school’s dual enrollment program is just one reason why it’s being recognized.

“In and of itself, that dual enrollment program has grown by 33 percent over the past two years. Once students are enrolled with us, our retention rate is above the national average at 58 percent,” Murdaugh told those gathered at Tuesday’s announcement. “Our average graduation rate is 39 percent, which is well above the national average of 26 percent. And we rank in the 99th percentile for student completion, of all colleges.”

The ten finalist schools from across the nation include Broward College in South Florida. Murdaugh says the recognition is thanks to everyone in the TCC campus community, but is driven by students.

“This recognition from the Aspen Institute is both humbling, and it confirms what we already know: That the success of our students is at the heart of everything we do.”

The winner of the prize money will be announced in May of 2021.

Murdaugh says Florida’s college system awards more than 112,000 certificates and degrees each year.

Ryan Dailey is a reporter/producer for WFSU/Florida Public Radio. After graduating from Florida State University, Ryan went into print journalism working for the Tallahassee Democrat for five years. At the Democrat, he worked as a copy editor, general assignment and K-12 education reporter.