Thursday, September 16, 2021


Hundreds of wealthy Americans back the Biden Build Back Better Act; Roger Stone is served with a warrant on live radio; and family caregivers are in need of assistance.


Virginia gubernatorial candidates debate; former federal prosecutor Michael Sussmann indicted for lying to FBI; lawmakers set to question oil industry over climate disinformation; and FDA scientists express skepticism over booster shots.


Lawsuits stall debt relief for America's Black farmers; Idaho hospitals using "critical care" protocols; grant money boosts rural towns in Utah and more conservation acreage could protect the iconic sage grouse.

Texas Community Colleges Rewarded for Excellence


Friday, June 4, 2021   

AUSTIN, Texas -- San Antonio College (SAC) is the 2021 recipient of what's been called the "Oscars" for outstanding achievement by a community college, and the reason is its commitment to students who often have a tough time staying in school.

The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence is given every two years.

Dr. Robert Vela, president of SAC, said the 95-year-old institution is focused on serving people from its immediate environment in some of the country's most impoverished ZIP Codes, with low rates of degree attainment and high rates of unemployment.

"It's very difficult for a large urban institution to achieve excellence and to achieve this kind of success," Vela contended. "So we ensure that we are preparing students to be successful, in the workforce or at a university setting."

SAC will receive $600,000 for its first-place achievement in areas that include certificate and degree completion, workforce success and equity for students of color and low-income backgrounds. Amarillo College, Odessa College and San Jacinto College also received recognition.

Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, said it's a testament to the state's investment in improving community colleges that four of the 10 finalists are in the Lone Star State.

"We are looking at which colleges are achieving the highest and fastest improving and most equitable," Wyner explained. "And that's really a testament to the hard work that's been done by so many entities within the state of Texas."

Vela pointed out in the past, many would-be students avoided community college if they could afford a four-year institution, but since President Joe Biden promoted them within the American Families Plan, Vela believes many people are taking a second look.

"It provides options for you," Vela observed. "And for so many years, we have been coined as 'you're settling.' But given our environment, given our economic kind-of position that we are all in, it's actually a very smart move to make, financially."

Two-thirds of students at SAC are Hispanic, Black or Native American. Vela added 52% of students who enroll either graduate or transfer within three years, compared to the national average of 46%.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.

get more stories like this via email
Oregon's Hispanic population grew 30% from 2010 to 2020. (Gstudio/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Hispanic Heritage Month began this week, and will be celebrated through Oct. 15. Oregon has a rapidly growing Hispanic population…

Social Issues

SILVER SPRING, Md. -- As the Biden administration challenges a Texas law restricting abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, Planned Parenthood for …

Social Issues

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Social Security, the program credited with lifting 15 million older residents in Wyoming and across the U.S. out of poverty…

Arkansas' rental-assistance program has distributed funds to more than 3,200 households in the state. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas has made some changes to its state rent relief program to make it easier to distribute assistance to residents…


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The historic clean-energy bill signed into Illinois law yesterday includes measures from closing coal and natural gas plants by 2…

Indiana ranks 44th out of 50 states for bankruptcy. (Andriy Blokhin/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

INDIANAPOLIS -- A new coalition is forming to push back against predatory lending and urge state lawmakers to take action to protect consumers…

Social Issues

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- More than 200 high earners have written a letter urging Congress to raise taxes to help support social safety-net programs that …

Health and Wellness

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Limiting women's access to abortion and other reproductive health care can have a devastating impact on state economies. According …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021