San Antonio College receives prestigious national award

SAC is first community college in Texas to receive Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio College has been named the winner of the 2021 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among community colleges.

The award from the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program is a first for a Texas community college since the award was issued every two years since 2011, according to a news release.

The award recognizes outstanding institutions selected from a pool of more than 1,000 community colleges across the nation. The Aspen Prize honors institutions with outstanding achievement in teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s attainment, workforce success, equitable outcomes for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds, and leadership and culture.

“This is the highest national honor that a community college can receive. Today’s news makes me proud, happy and just about every good feeling you can imagine,” said SAC President Robert Vela. “It’s a breathtaking achievement for our faculty, staff and students and it embodies the very best of everyone who worked so hard to make it happen.”

“The Board and all of us in the Alamo Colleges District family are so proud of San Antonio College’s outstanding accomplishment as the number one community college in the nation, honored with the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. This recognition for San Antonio College reflects their faculty and staff’s dedication, hard work and commitment to student success and performance excellence,” said Mike Flores, chancellor of the Alamo Colleges District.

In October 2017, SAC first gained recognition from the Aspen Institute when it was selected as one of 150 community colleges eligible for the 2019 Aspen Prize.

In November 2019, SAC was named to the list of 150 community colleges eligible for the 2021 Aspen Prize. In addition to San Antonio College, two other institutions in the Alamo Colleges District, Northwest Vista College and Palo Alto College, were named as Top 150 Community Colleges.

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David Ibañez has been managing editor of since the website's launch in October 2000.