150 community colleges recognized for excellence by Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program has selected 150 community colleges who are eligible for its Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence is considered one of the most prestigious prizes for community colleges; former President Obama once said, "It's basically the Oscars for great community colleges."

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The Aspen Institute chooses its first round of 150 eligible colleges based on:

  • First-year retention rate;
  • Three-year graduation rate for both all students and minority students;
  • Certificates and degrees awarded per 100 students, for both all students and minority students; and
  • Improvement of academic performance over time.

The Institute also factors in an estimate of whether colleges serve a large population of low-income students.

Leaders of colleges named among the 150 say the honor reflects their work to support students.

One school, San Jacinto College, made the list again after being named a 2017 Aspen Institute Rising Star. Chancellor Brenda Hellyer says the college continues to look for "new and innovative" ways to support students. "We know our work is about changing lives," she says.

The top 10 finalists for the Aspen Prize will be announced in May 2018  (Community College Daily, 10/11; Business Insider, 10/11; Aspen Institute methodology, accessed 10/16).

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