“In the long run, this is what really matters. We are extremely proud of the effort that our faculty and staff have put into transforming our institution into a nationally competitive college,” Lewis said. “This has been our goal for quite some time.”
This is not the first time that PRCC has received national recognition in recent years. PRCC ranked No. 20 in the CNN Money listing of top community colleges in 2012. The Aspen Institute listed Pearl River Community College among the top 10 percent of all U.S. community colleges in 2012 and 2013.
Also, the Beta Tau Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, located at the Forrest County Center, was recently named one of the top 100 chapters internationally.
“It is pleasing to receive this recognition, but we realize that our college will always be in a continuous improvement effort,” said Dr. Lewis.
PRCC is one of more than 1,100 community colleges in the U.S.
According to the American Association of Colleges (AACC), community colleges enrolled nearly half of all undergraduates in the U.S. These community colleges graduate 20-25 percent of all first-time, full-time students. In May, PRCC graduated approximately 900 students, the largest class in the school’s history.
“We selected the top community colleges based on a comparison of several studies and ratings of community colleges, each with their own unique selection criteria, as well as the schools’ reputation and our review of notable community colleges,” said David Redfearn with TheBestSchools.org. “While completion/graduation rates are important to any college’s success, we identified several factors as especially significant to select the top community colleges.”
- Sustained Achievement Outcomes: Ongoing success in student perseverance and completion of Associate Degrees and/or transfer to four-year colleges.
- Learning Outcomes: Values and practices that actively engage students and require them to stretch academically; explore learning freely; pursue a variety of educational experiences and areas of study.
- Deployment Outcomes: Strong rates of employment, salaries and advancement for graduates matched with workplace skill needs.
- Equitable Outcomes: Policies and practices that result in student diversity and success among low-income students and underrepresented racial/ethnic groups (African American, Hispanic/Latino and Native American).
- Cost-to-Value Outcomes: Reasonable tuition costs, access to financial aid resources and an emphasis on minimizing post-school debt.
According to Redfearn, TheBestSchools.org is an independent organization with no ties to any other educational institution. All its editors know the academic world inside out, with some holding Ph.D.s and having extensive experience in teaching, research, and publishing at the university level.