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Coastline College up for $1M prize

Four other California schools are among the top 120 community colleges in nation, according to institute's website.

May 11, 2011|By Mona Shadia, mona.shadia@latimes.com

Coastline Community College was named one of the top 120 community colleges in the nation for its innovative strategies and high level of student success by a national organization dedicated to finding the best college practices and sharing them with the rest throughout the nation.

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program selected the Fountain Valley campus for its focus on helping students achieve their goals, said Coastline President Loretta Adrian.

"We're ecstatic about it," Adrian said. "I'm delighted. As the president of Coastline, I'm very proud about this selection because it really speaks to the dedication of our faculty and our staff, and to me the exemplary practices in terms of instruction, student services and administration services. We really truly all work together as a team to support the success of students."

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The selection places Coastline, one of three colleges in the Coast Community College District, among the top 10% of community colleges in the nation. The selected colleges are now eligible to compete for a portion of the $1-million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Coastline was one of five community colleges in California identified by the Aspen Institute, according to the list on the organization's website.

"Each of the 120 colleges ranked has demonstrated high standards for learning, college completion without delay, and community colleges as training grounds for jobs that pay competitive wages, making them eligible for the prize," according to a news release that was issued by the institute.

The school did not apply to be selected. Rather, the institute weighed the schools based on graduate and transfer data that was shared with the federal government, Adrian said.

"We provide certain students' information, including student outcome data related to the number of students and number of degrees and certificates awarded," she said.

Among the qualities the institute looked for were student graduation rate in the last three years and first-year retention rate, according to a chart from Aspen. The organization looked for the level of performance, improvement and equity when weighing the schools, the release said.

To compete for the $1-million prize, Coastline will provide a more detailed picture of the school's programs and the numbers of those who graduated, received awards or successfully transferred to a university, Adrian said.

The institute will select a number of finalists then conduct site visits before picking a grand prize winner and two or three runner-ups, the release said.

Coastline's military program is perhaps what sets it apart from others, Adrian said.

Coastline works with the military and the various other schools and universities to provide online programs and classes to those serving in the military. A large part of the school's military program is offered to members of the U.S. Navy, Adrian said.

Coastline works closely with the military's programs so it can match the curriculums and allow students a clear path to graduation, Adrian said.

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