Tallahassee Community College Is Named One of 10 National Finalists For $1 Million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence

June 9, 2020

Tallahassee Community College (TCC) was named today as one of 10 finalists for the 2021 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges.

Awarded every two years since 2011, the Prize recognizes institutions that achieve high and improving student outcomes, selected from more than 1,000 community colleges nationwide. Focused solely on student access and success, the Aspen Prize recognizes community colleges with exceptional achievements in four areas:

  • Student learning;
  • Certificate and degree completion while in community college and after transferring to a four-year institution;
  • Employment and earnings rates after graduation; and
  • Access for and success of minority and low-income students.

“We are honored to be recognized by the Aspen Institute for our collective commitment to the success of our students,” said TCC President Jim Murdaugh. “This significant acknowledgement is a result of the College’s passion to continually advance its student-centered focus. I am exceptionally proud of our team and the persistence they have shown to never settle for less than our students can dream.”

“Tallahassee Community College has consistently achieved impressive outcomes for its students,” said Josh Wyner, Executive Director of the College Excellence Program. “Beyond continuously improving its strong campus-based offerings, the College engages with community partners to ensure a seamless transition for students at every stage, from working with local high schools to create and promote effective dual enrollment opportunities to providing meaningful internship experiences for career and technical education students.”

“The Aspen Prize finalists define what it means to be an excellent community college,” said Wyner. “By organizing everything they do around student success, these colleges stand at the forefront of national efforts to develop the talents of diverse students that we need to strengthen our nation’s economic future.” 

TCC Executive Vice President and Provost Madeline Pumariega said, “TCC has been laser-focused on academic excellence and student success! It is a tremendous honor for our College to receive this recognition, which serves as a testament to the wonderful work of our faculty, staff and leadership at TCC.”

The College was named in November 2019 as one of the nation’s Top 150 Community Colleges eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize. TCC stands out as one of the nation’s top community colleges for many reasons, including:


  • Workforce: TCC is achieving regional and statewide recognition as a premier college of choice for providing workforce training by delivering high quality programs and instruction that enables students to grow, succeed, and stay globally competitive.
  • Access: The College continues to strengthen and expand access by increasing awareness of educational opportunities that are reflective of student, business, and community needs.
  • Student Success: The College promotes a student-centered environment that focuses on student achievement, engagement and educational excellence.
  • Partnerships: TCC is nurturing collaborative relationships with K-12, universities, businesses, and community partners to develop a cohesive educational strategy that ensures seamless alignment and builds a skilled workforce that leads to economic mobility and increased educational attainment.
  • Transfer Rate: A significantly higher percentage of students transfer from TCC to a four-year institution than the state average.
  • Seamless Transition: There is a seamless transition to Florida State University and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. TCC students have the opportunity to participate in the TCC2FSU or TCC2FAMU program the moment they enroll as a degree-seeking student.
  • Resources and Efficiency: The College is strategically leverage, grow and utilize resources to maximize student success and institutional sustainability and effectiveness.


The 10 Aspen Prize Finalists have achieved strong and improving student success rates in very different contexts – they are from rural and urban areas, serve demographically different student bodies, and offer a varied mix of technical workforce and academic transfer programs. These 10 institutions offer proof that every community college can achieve higher levels of success for students while in college and after they graduate.

 Additional information regarding TCC as an Aspen Prize finalist can be found at  https://www.tcc.fl.edu/AspenTop10.


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

During the remainder of 2020, the Aspen Institute will complete a rigorous review process that includes examination of data on learning, graduation, workforce, and equitable outcomes for all students as well as multi-day 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 2021 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence is generously funded by the Joyce Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and the Siemens Foundation.