FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 11, 2017
Media Contact: Martha Parham, Ed.D.
Sr. Vice President, Public Relations
Phone: (202) 728-0200
Washington, DC—The nation’s community colleges provide students with the tools and training they need to reach their educational and career goals. Now, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program is recognizing 150 community colleges for their excellence in student success outcomes.
These colleges are eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The Aspen Prize recognizes institutions with outstanding achievements in four areas: learning; certificate and degree completion; employment and earnings; and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.
The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) congratulates these institutions for the work they’ve done to improve retention and completion rates. As open-access, affordable institutions, community colleges serve an increasingly diverse population with diverse needs, and they are meeting those needs in many ways. Partnerships with K–12 are ensuring students are college ready. Wraparound support services help students access the resources they need to stay enrolled. Relationships with business and industry guarantee that students are receiving the right training for in-demand, well-paying jobs, while also helping to close the nation’s skills gap.
Innovation is the key to improving student success, and community colleges have it in spades. They are redesigning developmental education so students can more quickly move on to college-level, credit-bearing courses. They are building pathways that give students a clear roadmap to their destination. And they are creating policies that lead to increased transparency and accountability.
“Community colleges have been laser-focused on student success,” AACC President and CEO Walter G. Bumphus said. “We are proud of the AACC member colleges that are eligible for the 2019 Aspen Prize. These colleges represent the diversity of the nation’s students and the programs and services designed for their success. We are grateful to Aspen Institute for acknowledging the hard work of our colleges and look forward to the many programs and services that will be spotlighted by this important award.”
The Aspen Prize puts a spotlight not only on a select group of community colleges but on the sector as a whole. AACC is grateful that the Aspen Institute has chosen to devote resources to promoting the great work of two-year institutions. A list of the colleges is available online: www.highered.aspeninstitute.org/aspen-prize.
This year, the list of 150 institutions includes urban, suburban and rural colleges from 39 states. The top 10 finalists for the 2019 Aspen Prize will be named in May 2018. A Prize Jury will select a grand prize winner, finalist(s) with distinction, and rising star(s) in spring 2019.
About the American Association of Community Colleges
As the voice of the nation’s community colleges, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), delivers educational and economic opportunity for 12 million diverse students in search of the American Dream. Uniquely dedicated to access and success for all students, AACC’s nearly 1,200 member colleges provide an on-ramp to degree attainment, skilled careers and family-supporting wages. Located in Washington, D.C., AACC advocates for these not-for-profit, public-serving institutions to ensure they have the resources and support they need to deliver on the mission of increasing economic mobility for all.