Sierra College wins $2 million Award for Innovation in Higher Education

SACRAMENTO, Calif. April 5, 2017 – California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley congratulated the 14 California community colleges and community colleges districts that they won a $25 million state award for developing innovative programs to increase completion rates and make college more affordable. The Committee on Awards for Innovation in Higher Education announced the awards on Monday. The money will be split among the winning campuses and districts.

“I extend my congratulations to all of the winning districts and colleges for earning this prestigious and well-deserved award,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley. “Boosting completion rates and reducing college costs are among the highest priorities for all three higher education systems in California. The schools recognized today are leading the way when it comes to making these twin goals a reality for this state.”

California’s 2016-17 budget includes $25 million for the Awards for Innovation in Higher Education program. This year’s awards recognized California districts and colleges that help reduce the time it takes students to complete degrees and credentials, reduce the total cost of attendance for students, or do both. The legislation specifically highlights the state’s interest in efforts to:

•    Redesign curriculum and instruction, such as the implementation of three-year bachelor’s degrees.
•    Allow students to make progress toward completion of degrees and credentials based on their demonstration of knowledge and competencies, including skills acquired through military training, prior learning, and prior experiences.
•    Create programs that make college more affordable by making financial aid and other supports and services more accessible, including by increasing the number of students who apply for these programs, or by reducing the costs of books and supplies.

A committee consisting of the state’s director of finance, four members selected by Gov. Jerry Brown, an appointee of the state Senate Committee on Rules and an appointee of the Speaker of the state Assembly review the applications and select the winning campuses.

The committee selected the following award winners:

$2 million awards
•    Cuesta College
•    Evergreen Valley College
•    Los Angeles Trade-Technical College
•    Los Rios Community College District
•    Palomar Community College District
•    Riverside Community College District
•    Santa Monica Community College District
•    Shasta College
•    Sierra College
•    South Orange Community College District
•    West Hills Community College District

$1 million awards
•    Laney College
•    Los Angeles Valley College
•    West Hills Community College District