Against All Odds, These 150 Community Colleges Are Now Eligible for $ 1 Million |


The Aspen Prize recognizes institutions aiming to ensure better outcomes for all students.

Times are tough for community colleges. Enrollment has fallen by double digits since March 2020, mostly affecting underserved students, and hopes of millions of dollars in federal aid to institutions through the Build Back Better plan have been dashed.

But two-year-old institutions continue to serve and fight, and those that excel through thick and thin are once again recognized by the nonprofit Aspen Institute.

The 150 colleges that work best to ensure student success, equity, and relevant career paths, especially for those from low-income communities and Black and Latin communities, are eligible this year to earn the Aspen Million Dollar Award for Excellence in Community Colleges.

“In a time of persistent inequity and labor shortage, our nation’s top community colleges are striving to graduate more and more diverse students so they are prepared for the right ones. jobs waiting to be filled, ”said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program.

The group comes from all parts of the United States, representing 60 states, some with just over 200 students enrolled in massive districts that serve 57,000. They will have the opportunity to show how successful their results have been. success over the past year to a panel of 15 judges who will focus on five criteria: teaching and learning, obtaining certificates and diplomas, transferring and earning a bachelor’s degree, professional success and fairness. for students of color and students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The panel will then narrow that large list to 10 finalists next fall before picking a winner in spring 2023.

San Antonio College, the most recent champion, posted four-year transfer rates and six-year completion rates exceeding the national average by eight and nine points, respectively, and saw its graduation rates jump by nearly 20 points in four years at 48%. .

“Exceptional community college leaders understand that achieving excellence requires expanding access to colleges and increasing graduation, but it doesn’t stop there,” Wyner said. “They are committed to ensuring that all students have the skills necessary to obtain employment with a salary to support the family or to successfully transfer to and graduate from university.”

The efforts of the Top 10 last year were highlighted at the 2021 awards ceremony by Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Dr Jill Biden, who called community colleges a “powerful engine of prosperity.” Many of these finalists are eligible for the Million Dollar Prize again this year, including the Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York; Pasadena City College in California; Pierce College District in Washington; Broward College and Tallahassee Community College in Florida; Western Kentucky Community and Technical College: and Amarillo College, Odessa College, and San Jacinto College in Texas.

Here’s the full list, which represents 15% of all community colleges nationwide:

ALABAMA: Northeast Alabama Community College Snead State Community College

ARIZONA: Paradise Valley Community College

ARKANSAS: Arkansas State University-Mountain Home, Ozarka College, Southern Arkansas University Tech, University of Arkansas Community College Rich Mountain

CALIFORNIA: Allan Hancock College, Antelope Valley College, Bakersfield College, Butte College, Citrus College, Clovis Community College, Cypress College, De Anza College, Feather River Community College, District Golden West College, Hacienda La Puente Adult Education, Imperial Valley College, Irvine Valley College, Los Medanos College, MiraCosta College, Moorpark College, Mt. San Antonio College, Napa Valley College, Ohlone College, Orange Coast College, Oxnard College, Pasadena City College, Saddleback College, Santa Monica College, Santa Rosa Junior College, College Sierra, Ventura College, West Hills College-Lemoore, West Los Angeles College

FLORIDA: Broward College, Chipola College, College of Central Florida, Daytona State College, Eastern Florida State College, Florida Gateway College, Florida State College in Jacksonville, Gulf Coast State College, North Florida College, Palm Beach State College, Saint Johns River State College, Seminole State College of Florida, South Florida State College, Tallahassee Community College

GEORGIA: Albany Technical College, Athens Technical College, Georgia Highlands College, Lanier Technical College, Ogeechee Technical College, South Georgia Technical College, Southern Crescent Technical College, Southern Regional Technical College, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College

IDAHO: College of Eastern Idaho

ILLINOIS: Carl Sandburg College, Elgin Community College, Frontier Community College, Lake Land College, Lewis and Clark Community College, Lincoln Trail College, Olney Central College, Rend Lake College, Wabash Valley College, William Rainey Harper College

IOWA: Iowa Lakes Community College, North Iowa Area Community College, Northwest Iowa Community College

KANSAS: Cloud County Community College, Coffeyville Community College, Flint Hills Technical College, North Central Kansas Technical College, Northwest Kansas Technical College, Salina Area Technical College

KENTUCKY: Western Kentucky Community and Technical College

LOUISIANA: Central Louisiana Technical Community College, Southern Louisiana Community College

MARYLAND: Anne Arundel Community College, Frederick Community College

MINNESOTA: Alexandria Technical & Community College, Dakota County Technical College, Leech Lake Tribal College, Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Minnesota West Community and Technical College

MISSISSIPPI: Copiah-Lincoln Community College, East Mississippi Community College, Itawamba Community College, Hinds Community College, Holmes Community College, Pearl River Community College, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

MISSOURI: Missouri State Technical College

NEBRASKA: Central Community College, Northeast Community College

NEW HAMPSHIRE: White Mountains Community College

NEW JERSEY: Ocean County College, Union County College

NEW MEXICO: Central New Mexico Community College

NEW YORK: CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY Hostos Community College, CUNY Kingsborough Community College, CUNY LaGuardia Community College, CUNY Queensborough Community College, CUNY Stella and Charles Guttman Community College

NORTH CAROLINA: Catawba Valley Community College, College of the Albemarle, Edgecombe Community College, Montgomery Community College, Southwestern Community College, Wayne Community College

NORTH DAKOTA: Bismarck State College

OHIO: Cuyahoga Community College District

PENNSYLVANIA: Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology

SOUTH DAKOTA: Mitchell Technical Institute, Southeast Technical Institute, West Dakota Technical College

TEXAS: Alvin Community College, Amarillo College, Lee College, Northwest Vista College, San Jacinto Community College, Southwest Texas Junior College, Texas State Technical College, Trinity Valley Community College

UTAH: Snow college

VERMONT: Vermont Technical College

VIRGINIA: Wytheville Community College

WASHINGTON: Bellingham Technical College, Clark College, Columbia Basin College, Green River College, Highline College, Pierce College District, Renton Technical College, South Puget Sound Community College, Wenatchee Valley College, Yakima Valley College

WEST OF VIRGINIA: Blue Ridge Community and Technical College

WISCONSIN: Chippewa Valley Technical College, Fox Valley Technical College, Lakeshore Technical College, Nicolet Area Technical College, Northcentral Technical College, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, Western Technical College, Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College

WYOMING: Northern Wyoming Community College District


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