The Aspen Institute Names Daytona State College one of 150 U.S. Community Colleges Eligible for 2023 Aspen Prize

$1 million prize recognizes excellence in equitable outcomes for students in and after college

(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) November 2, 2021 – Today, the Aspen Institute named Daytona State College one of the 150 institutions eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation's signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America's community colleges. It is the fifth time DSC has been eligible since the competition’s inception.

Aspen Prize Eligible Top 150The 150 eligible colleges have been invited to submit data and narratives as the next steps in an intensive data and practice review process, culminating in the announcement of the Prize winner in spring 2023. The colleges selected for this honor stand out among more than 1,000 community colleges nationwide as having high and improving levels of student success as well as equitable outcomes for Black and Hispanic students and those from lower-income backgrounds.

“It is an honor to be recognized as one of the nation’s top institutions,” said Dr. Tom LoBasso, DSC President. “Our strategic plan to improve student retention, graduation rates, and degree completion aligns with the criteria for the Aspen Prize. Daytona State College faculty and staff are committed to provide our students with the highest levels of teaching and learning in the nation.”

The Aspen Prize, awarded every two years, spotlights exemplary community colleges in order to elevate the sector, drive attention to colleges doing the best work, and discover and share highly effective student success and equity strategies. Since 2010, Aspen has chosen to focus intensively on community colleges because they are—as First Lady Dr. Jill Biden stated at the 2021 Aspen Prize ceremony—“a powerful engine of prosperity.”

The eligible colleges represent the diversity and depth of the community college sector. In this first round, eligibility for the Aspen Prize is based on publicly available data. Eligible colleges must show strong and improving student outcomes in key areas such as retention, completion, transfer, and equity. Nationwide, 15 percent of community colleges (150 of the approximately 1,000 public two-year colleges nationwide assessed for the Prize) have been invited to apply—the full list can be accessed on the Prize homepage.

The next steps in the process include:

  • Selection of the top ten finalists by an expert panel of 15 experts in community colleges, higher education, and workforce training, to be announced in spring/summer 2022.
  • Fall 2022 site visits to each of the ten finalists, during which the Aspen Institute and partners will collect additional information, including employment and earnings data and insights about promising practices.
  • A distinguished jury will meet and make award decisions in the first quarter of early 2023.
  • Announcement of the Aspen Prize in late spring 2023.

For a full list of the top 150 eligible institutions and to read more on the selection process, visit

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