WLAC Picked to Compete for Prize Recognizing College Excellence
November 4, 2021
The Aspen Institute has named West Los Angeles College (WLAC) one of the 150 institutions eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, a recognition of high achievement and performance among America's community colleges.
Former President Barack Obama described the Aspen Prize as "basically the Oscars for great community colleges." 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.
"Being selected as an Aspen Prize Top 150 Community College for 2023 is a direct reflection of the ongoing commitment of our faculty and staff to our students' success," said Dr. James M. Limbaugh, WLAC President. "On behalf of everyone at West Los Angeles College, we are honored to be accorded this national recognition."
Los Angeles Community College District Chancellor Francisco C. Rodriguez added, "We are honored that West Los Angeles College has been recognized by the Aspen Institute. West is known for its responsive and innovative curriculum, and an equity-minded, collegial environment where faculty, staff and administrators educate and serve one of the most diverse student bodies in the country."
The Aspen Prize spotlights exemplary community colleges, drive attention to colleges doing the best work, and discover and share highly effective student success and equity strategies, according to the press release. Among the previous Prize winners were Walla Walla Community College (WA), Indian River State College (FL) and Santa Barbara City College (CA).
The 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, said the Aspen Institute.
WLAC was also recognized by several other organizations recently. Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education named WLAC one of 2021 Top 100 Colleges and Universities in the categories of "2019-2020 Total Enrollment 4-year Schools" and "2019-2020 Total Associate Degrees Granted." EduMed.org awarded West top honors in "Best Online Dental Hygiene Programs" and "Best Dental Assistant Programs Online." And, WLAC was included in the top 20 on the "2020 Best Online Community Colleges in California" list published by OnlineU.com
Located in Culver City, WLAC serves students from Los Angeles, Mid-City, Culver City, Venice and Inglewood. Approximately 40 percent of the student body are first-generation college students and 70 percent identify as Hispanic or African American.