Blog: NCAN News

Community College of Denver Wins 2018 ‘To & Through’ Award of Excellence

Tuesday, September 25, 2018  
Posted by: Lindsay Broderick, Staff Writer
Share |

The Community College of Denver received the “To & Through” Award at NCAN’s 23rd annual national conference today in Pittsburgh.

The “To & Through” Award recognizes an institution (or department within an institution) that collaborates with an NCAN-member college access and success organization to ensure that the organization’s students – as well as all enrolled underrepresented students – get the supports they need to complete a two- or four-year degree.

For the last 50 years, the Community College of Denver (CCD) has been a postsecondary education option for students of all backgrounds. Currently, half of the institution’s student population is first-generation, and more than 60 percent of students qualify for financial aid.

In 2012, CCD partnered with the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF), an NCAN member, to create the Students Empowered Educated Determined (SEED) program with the goal to help more underserved students successfully transfer from CCD to a four-year institution and complete a bachelor’s degree. The SEED program has become a resource and community for low-income, first-generation, and minority students. Seventy-two percent of DSF SEED Scholars are eligible for the Pell Grant, 85 percent are first-generation students, and 81 percent are Hispanic.

DSF SEED Scholars receive one-on-one counseling sessions with CCD staff. These individualized sessions are designed to support students and promote their success by ensuring they stay on top of academic tasks, such as completing their CCD courses on time, taking CCD courses that will transfer to a four-year institution, and completing the transfer application process. Students also participate in a tutor-mentor program and are connected to an early alert system that can detect if they begin to struggle.

At the start of the program, less than 2 percent of DSF Scholars at CCD went on to transfer. Today, 76 percent of DSF SEED Scholars are on track to transfer within three years, have successfully transferred to a four-year institution, or have graduated with a four-year degree.

Nate Easley, vice president of the NCAN board of directors and CEO of Blue School Partners presented the award to Mona Calderon, an educational access specialist at CCD. As the award-winner, CCD will receive $1,000 to put toward general operating support, scholarships, and/or professional development. Past recipients of this award include:

  • 2017: Augsburg University, Minneapolis, MN  
  • 2015: Lone Star College System, The Woodlands TX

NCAN solicits nominees from its membership for the annual Awards of Excellence in College Access and Success. A committee of NCAN members reviews all nominations, with final decisions confirmed by the NCAN board of directors. NCAN thanks the eight members of the 2018 Awards Committee for their service:

  • Maria Carvalho, The College Crusade of Rhode Island
  • Ramiro Fonseca, Project GRAD Houston
  • Angel Garcia, Georgetown University, Institute for College Preparation
  • Tim Herron, Degrees of Change
  • Kim Mazzuca, 10,000 Degrees
  • Troy Miller, Florida College Access Network
  • Monica Montenegro, East Bay Consortium of Educational Institutions, Inc.
  • David Rodriguez, Metropolitan Education Commission
  • Alexandra Sabin, Academic Success Program