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IRSC NAMED ASPEN PRIZE FINALIST WITH DISTINCTION

Indian River State College was recognized as one of the top three community colleges in the nation as a Finalist with Distinction for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. IRSC President, Dr. Edwin Massey was presented with the honor at a ceremony in Washington D.C. The College will receive a $100,000 award for excellence.

“The selection of Indian River State College as a 2017 Aspen Prize Finalist with Distinction is a tremendous honor recognizing the exceptional commitment to student success and results achieved by our college’s faculty, staff and administration. Above all else it’s the perseverance of our students that inspires us to continuous improvement,” said Dr. Edwin R. Massey, IRSC President. “IRSC was particularly commended as an example of outstanding responsiveness to business and community needs.”

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.

“IRSC is a natural leader in workforce preparation,” said Joshua Wyner, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “What they do most exceptionally is provide high-quality education geared towards real economic opportunities for students. They make sure students have the technical skills and also critical thinking and communication abilities to excel after they graduate, whether they go to transfer or go into the workforce. Indian River is really a force for student mobility but also for economic strength in its region.”

IRSC’s recognition as a Top Ten College was based on the following achievements:

Student success – IRSC increased the number of degrees and certificates awarded by almost 20% from the 2014/15 school year to 2015/16. This increase is the result of continuous focus on quality of instruction, student services, academic support, learning environment and innovative technologies to ensure students complete a degree or certificate, as well as exemplary work developing guided pathways to degrees and jobs.

Extreme affordability – Recognizing that the majority of IRSC students come from counties with a relatively low average income, IRSC takes an extremely proactive approach to keep college affordable through low tuition rates, assistance obtaining financial aid, and exceptional scholarship support. As a result, IRSC has ranked as the 3rd Most Affordable College in the nation, and 1st in Florida by the U.S. Department of Education for the second consecutive year. Further, through careful financial planning, IRSC has not raised its tuition rate for the past five years.

Workforce readiness - Over 90% of IRSC students are employed or continuing their education soon after graduation. Students are job-ready through internships, capstone projects, and service learning in the community developed by IRSC in partnership with over 400 businesses, industries, schools, public agencies and medical facilities.

Industry partnerships – IRSC is taking a lead in training for emerging industries through establishment of industry/college partnerships in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM.) IRSC has been selected by the National Science Foundation as the lead institution for three Regional Centers: Nuclear Energy, Laser/Fiber Optics, and Photonics (co-lead) bringing together over 119 colleges/universities and over 4,600 industry and agency partners to develop industry-standard training programs that will fuel economic development and a highly skilled workforce.




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