Chosen among top 15% of schools to compete for share of $1M prize

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 29, 2016) – Selected from a pool of over 1,000 public two-year colleges, Daytona State College is among 150 of the nation's top institutions chosen by the Aspen Institute to compete for the prestigious 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence and $1 million in prize money.

Aspen Institute selects DSC to vie for prestigious awardThe selection by the Washington D.C.-based think tank recognizes the effectiveness of the two-year academic focus that is the heart of Daytona State's multi-faceted mission. Institutions are measured based on student outcomes in areas that include student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, access and success for minority and low-income students, and the institution's record of job placement for graduates.

The prize, first established in 2011, is awarded every two years and represents the nation's signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America's community colleges.

"This is the first of three rounds that will determine the winning institution," said DSC President Tom LoBasso. "Nevertheless, it is an honor and very exciting for Daytona State to be recognized among the top colleges in the country. It is a testament to the quality of our faculty and student support staff and their dedication to teaching, learning and student success."

The 150 institutions announced yesterday as eligible to compete for the 2017 prize were selected from a national pool of over 1,000 public two-year colleges using publicly available data on student outcomes. Up to 10 finalists will be named in fall 2016. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data, including employment and earnings data from states and transfer data from the National Student Clearinghouse. A jury will select a grand prize winner and finalists with distinction in early 2017. According to the institute's website at, the winning college will receive up to $700,000, while the runners-up will share the remainder of the $1 million.

In total, 14 member institutions of the Florida College System's 28 colleges are in the running for the prize. It is the second year Daytona State became eligible to compete, having been initially selected to compete in 2011.

The Aspen Prize is financially supported by the Joyce Foundation, the Lumina Foundation for Education, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.

This is the latest in a flurry of honors Daytona State has received this month. Earlier, U.S. News and World Report for the fourth consecutive year ranked the college in the top 10 among hundreds of colleges and universities offering bachelor degree programs online, coming in at No. 7. And last week, DSC was named a 2016 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, the leader in connecting military and civilian worlds, and publisher of G.I. Jobs®, STEM JobsSM and Military Spouse. The designation provides service members and their families with data-driven ratings about post-military education and career opportunities.

More information on the Aspen Institute and a full list of the 150 community colleges eligible to apply for the prize are available at



MORE: Offering more than 100 certificate, associate and bachelor’s degree programs, Daytona State College is the leader in education and workforce training needs of Volusia and Flagler counties and beyond for more than 60 years. The College enrolls nearly 25,000 students a year at its seven instructional sites, with graduates serving in critical fields including healthcare, emergency services/public safety, business, education, hospitality, engineering, technology, digital media, and more. 

Daytona State has been recognized as a leader in higher education numerous times, consistently by U.S. News & World Report, which ranks the College among the Top Tier Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. The U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center has ranked DSC among the top 50 most affordable public four-year institutions in the country, with less than half the tuition of the national average. Community College Week, a leading publication in higher education, annually continues to feature the college in its list of Top 100 Associate Degree Producers. And U.S. News & World Report has ranked DSC among its Top Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans multiple times.

For enrollment information, visit Admissions’ Frequently Asked Questions page.


Chris Thomes,

Marketing & Communications,

A Member of the Florida College System

Daytona State College prohibits discrimination and provides equal opportunity in employment and education services to all individuals without regard to age, ancestry, belief, color, disability, ethnicity, genetic information, gender, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran status. For more details, read our policy at or contact Lonnie Thompson, Director of Equity and Inclusion, (386) 506-3000  ext. 3973, or The Office of Equity and Inclusion is located at 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL 32114.