Alpena Community College has been selected as one of only 150 community colleges in the nation eligible for the fourth $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance in America’s community colleges. The Aspen Institute recognizes institutions for exceptional student outcomes in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.
The prize, awarded every two years, has brought a new level of public attention to community colleges, defined new measures of excellence in outcomes for community college students, and uncovered and disseminated practices that help exceptional colleges ensure great outcomes for their students.
The top-150 is the first step in the process for awarding the prize in March 2017. The Aspen Institute used publicly available data to narrow the pool down from more than 1,000 community colleges to only 150 eligible institutions.
Institutions that apply for the prize are also eligible for the Siemens Technical Scholars (STS) Program. STS is a partnership of the Aspen Institute and Siemens Foundation that recognizes deserving students enrolled in programs delivering high-quality education for middle-skill STEM jobs.
Alpena Community College and 149 other community colleges were selected from a national pool of over 1,000 public two-year colleges using publicly available data on student outcomes in three areas:
- Performance (retention, graduation rates including transfers, and degrees and certificates per 100 full-time equivalent students)
- Improvement (awarded for steady improvement in each performance metric over time)
- Equity (evidence of strong completion outcomes for minority and low-income students)
Alpena Community College has been invited to submit an application to the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence containing detailed data on degree and certificate completion (including progress and transfer rates), labor market outcomes (employment and earnings), and student learning outcomes.
Ten finalists will be named in fall 2016. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data. A distinguished Prize Jury will select a grand prize winner and a few finalists with distinction in early 2017.
About The Aspen Institute
The Aspen Prize is funded by the Joyce Foundation, the Siemens Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation.
The Aspen College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes. Through the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the New College Leadership Project, and other initiatives, the College Excellence Program works to improve colleges’ understanding and capacity to teach and graduate students, especially the growing population of low-income and minority students on American campuses. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org/college-excellence.
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.