The Aspen Institute recently released a list of 120 community colleges qualifying for the second annual Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. This announcement kicks off a multi-step process for identifying a single institution to receive a $1 million award recognizing innovation and high levels of community college student success.
Local finalists making it to the next round of competition include Frederick Community College and Hagerstown Community College—both in Maryland.
In a comprehensive review of publicly available data, community colleges from 31 states demonstrated strong outcomes in three areas of student success:
- student success in persistence, completion, and transfer
- consistent improvement in outcomes over time, and
- equity in outcomes for students of all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
The Aspen Prize was introduced at the 2010 White House Summit on Community Colleges and is based on graduation rates, degrees awarded, student retention rates, and “equity in student outcomes.” Site visits will also collect information through interviews with leadership, staff, faculty, students, and community partners. Ten finalists are expected to be named in September.