WASHINGTON, D.C., May 18, 2021 — Today, Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was recognized in a virtual award ceremony with over a thousand viewers, as one of the top community colleges nationally. It won $100,000 and the honor of Finalist with Distinction in the 2021 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

The $1 million Aspen Prize, awarded every two years since 2011, recognizes outstanding institutions selected from more than 1,000 community colleges nationwide. The Aspen Prize assesses performance in six areas: teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s attainment, workforce success, equity in access and success for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds, and leadership and institutional culture.

 “It is an honor to be selected as a Finalist with Distinction from more than 1,000 peer institutions across the nation evaluated for this prize," said Broward College President Gregory Adam Haile, J.D. "This recognition as a Finalist with Distinction is a community prize. Thanks to our trustees, faculty, and staff, as well as the donors and partners in the public and private sectors who support our work. Of course, our highest praise goes to our students – this is their achievement. I also want to thank Josh Wyner and his team at Aspen's College Excellence Program for pushing community colleges to the forefront of national efforts to empower our students, and thereby enhancing our nation's economic future.”

Broward College is one of the largest community colleges in the nation, serving 62,000 students in South Florida. Sixty-eight percent of students are students of color, while 49 percent receive federal Pell Grants because of financial need. Graduation and transfer rates for students of color and student from low-income backgrounds each exceed the national average by 4 percentage points. Of BC students who transfer, 52 percent complete a bachelor’s within six years; that’s 8 points above the national average.

“Broward College has made an impressive commitment to expanding access for those often furthest from opportunity in Fort Lauderdale,” said Linda Perlstein, director of Aspen’s College Excellence Program. “And once students are in the door, it sets a remarkable example for how a community college can help students figure out their goals and progress toward them.”
The Aspen Prize winner, Finalists with Distinction, and Rising Star were announced today by Aspen Prize jury co-chairs Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and Ruth Williams-Brinkley, president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States. They led a distinguished jury of education, business, and nonprofit leaders to select the top colleges—part of a rigorous, 18-month review process that included the examination of extensive data on performance and improvements.

“The college has been a national exemplar in guided pathways—designing clear, structured paths for students through to a bachelor’s degree, and aligning advising and other systems to make it hard to fall through the cracks,” Williams-Brinkley said in announcing the award. “In recent years, Broward College has made it a top priority to build new, innovative partnerships”—its Broward UP initiative—"to expand access and pathways to college and careers for people in the city’s highest-poverty neighborhoods.”
Broward College was also an Aspen Prize Finalist with Distinction in 2017 and a finalist in 2015 and 2019.

In offering congratulations to the Aspen Prize finalists today, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said, “Each of your institutions is helping to transform the lives of a diverse and deserving group of students. … This year’s finalists are an impressive roster of innovative and inclusive institutions that put student success at the core of all they do.” 

The Aspen Prize is generously funded by Ascendium Education Group, Joyce Foundation, and Siemens Foundation.

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The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes, especially for the growing population of students of color and students from low-income backgrounds on American campuses. For more information, visit

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

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Serving approximately 56,000 students annually, Broward College provides residents with certificate programs, two-year university-transfer degrees, two-year career degrees, and baccalaureate degrees in selected programs. The mission of the College is to provide high-quality educational programs and services that are affordable and accessible to a diverse community of learners. For more information, visit

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