The Aspen Institute recently named Pearl River Community College one of the 150 institutions eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation's signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America's community colleges. The colleges selected for this honor stand out among more than 1,000 community colleges nationwide as having high and improving levels of student success as well as equitable outcomes for Black and Hispanic students and those from lower-income backgrounds.
The 150 eligible colleges have been invited to submit data and narratives as the next steps in an intensive data and practice review process, culminating in the announcement of the Prize winner in spring 2023.
The Aspen Prize spotlights exemplary community colleges in order to elevate the sector, drive attention to colleges doing the best work, and discover and share highly effective student success and equity strategies.
“In an era of persistent inequity and workforce talent gaps, our nation’s best community colleges are stepping up to deliver more degrees to increasingly diverse students so they are prepared for the good jobs waiting to be filled,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “Leaders of exceptional community colleges understand that achieving excellence requires expanding college access and increasing degree completion, but it doesn’t stop there. They are committed to ensuring that all students—including students of color and those from low-income backgrounds—graduate with the skills needed to secure a job with family-sustaining wages or successfully transfer to and graduate from a university.
“That same commitment that stands at the center of the Aspen Prize: to advance the goals of social mobility and equitable talent development.”
Previous winners include San Antonio College (Texas; 2021), Miami Dade College (Fla.; 2019), Lake Area Technical Institute (SD; 2017), Santa Fe College (Fla.; 2015), Walla Walla Community College (Wash.; 2013), Santa Barbara City College (Calif.; 2013) and Valencia College (Fla.; 2011).
For a full list of the top 150 eligible institutions and to read more on the selection process, visit highered.aspeninstitute.org/aspen-prize.