San Antonio College Selected as Finalist for $1 Million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence

June 9, 2020

Office of Marketing & Strategic Communications

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program  announced that Alamo Colleges District-San Antonio College is one of 10 finalists for the 2021 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among community colleges.

The 10 Aspen Prize finalists were selected from the top 150 of the nation’s 1,000 community colleges in a process that included qualitative and quantitative data analysis and engaged more than 30 experts in the field. The Alamo College District’s Northwest Vista College and Palo Alto College, as well as San Antonio College, were included in the top 150.

The finalists all effectively identify, develop, and scale strategies to propel all students to not just complete college but also succeed after graduation.

“San Antonio College has steadily improved student outcomes,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the College Excellence Program. “The college has implemented college-wide reforms at scale, creating clear program pathways, redesigning course offerings to better meet student needs, offering every student intensive advising supports, and building very strong transfer relationships with area universities.” 

“The Board is pleased and proud to see three of the Alamo College District’s colleges honored for their excellence at the national level, and especially proud to see San Antonio College chosen as a finalist” said Alamo Colleges District Board Chair Marcelo Casillas. “Congratulations to the colleges, who continually strive to be the best in student success and performance excellence,” he added. 

 “A major component of improvement is adaptability,” said Dr. Robert Vela, President of SAC. “We are committed to advancing the educational goals of our diverse student body by continually improving our student outcomes. Our mission for student success is the driving force for transforming the lives of ALL our students and our entire community.”

To recognize being named a top ten finalist for the Aspen Prize, SAC will offer a colorful celebration on campus that will be broadcast on social media. A light show will paint the Moody Learning Center in dramatic fashion to announce the award. The event will take place at 8:30 p.m. this evening and the media are invited to the photo opportunity.

Awarded every two years since 2011, the Aspen Prize recognizes institutions that achieve strong student outcomes across four key areas:

  • Teaching and learning
  • Degree completion and successful transfer to four-year institutions
  • Success in the workforce
  • Equitable outcomes for diverse student groups

For the rest of 2020, the Aspen Institute will work with a team of national experts to complete a rigorous review process to determine the eventual winner of the prize. This encompasses a comprehensive examination of outcomes data as well as multi-day virtual site visits to each of the 10 finalist institutions.

In early 2021, a distinguished jury will convene to select the prize winner, finalists with distinction, and a rising star and allocate a $1 million award among them. The winner will be announced at a May 2021 event in Washington, D.C.

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

2021 Aspen Prize Finalists

Amarillo College, Amarillo, TX

Borough of Manhattan Community College, New York, NY

Broward College, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Odessa College, Odessa, TX

Pasadena City College, Pasadena, CA

Pierce College, Pierce County, WA

San Antonio College, San Antonio, TX

San Jacinto College, Pasadena, TX

Tallahassee Community College, Tallahassee, FL

West Kentucky Community and Technical College, Paducah, KY

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 low-income students and students of color on American campuses. For more information, visit and follow CEP on LinkedIn ( and Twitter (@AspenHigherEd). The Aspen Prize hashtag is #AspenPrize.

The Aspen Institute is a community-serving organization with global reach whose vision is a free, just, and equitable society. For 70 years, the Institute has driven change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the world’s greatest challenges. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Institute has offices in Aspen, Colorado, and New York City, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit