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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • PCC takes aim at $1 million prize

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  • One in 150. A field of community colleges has been narrowed to 150 with a chance to earn $1 million and Pratt Community College is one of colleges in the running.
    The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence recognizes one community college every two years for high achievement and performance for exceptional student outcomes in the following areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.
    "We're proud to be one of the 150," said Eric Webb, assistant to the PCC president, during the monthly PCC Board of Trustees meeting Monday night.
    Chosen from a potential 1,005 candidates of community colleges and tech schools, 150 colleges have three rounds to complete: Evaluation of public data; collection of new data; qualitative data and expert judgement.
    The college has passed the first round and has to complete the round two application by March 12. Round two focuses on four ares: Completion outcomes, labor market outcomes, learning outcomes and equity.
    After round two, the field will be cut to 10 for the final round.
    All colleges have to keep data on student success and the 150 are chosen from that data, said Michael Calvert, PCC president.
    This is the second time in school history PCC has been selected in the top 15 percent of colleges in the country.
    One of the prize funders, Lumina Foundation, is very concerned about retention and completion.
    That is the same goal for PCC. A big focus is also on equity but PCC already does that by treating everyone the same, Webb said.
    In the second round, PCC will go beyond the data and say why they succeed, discuss the unique programs like PASS and why it's helping PCC student athletes have a better graduation rate then non-student athletes, Calvert said.
    The PCC graduation rate is 35 percent and that is tied for third in Kansas.
    Another criteria is putting people to work and PCC has done a good job in that area so PCC is in good company.
    Other Kansas community colleges in contention include Colby, Garden City, Hutchinson and Seward County.

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