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Eligible colleges named for next Aspen Prize

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​Josh Wyner of the Aspen Institute at the 2013 Aspen Prize event announcing the winners.

Photo: Matthew Dembicki

​The Aspen Institute has released the list of 150 community colleges that are eligible to apply for the biennial Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, which comes with $1 million in prize money.

The colleges selected come from from 37 states, including 17 colleges from Texas, 15 from Florida, and nine each from Illinois and Kansas. The winners from the first two years of the award – Valencia College (Florida) in 2011 and 2012 co-winners Santa Barbara City College (California) and Walla Walla Community College (Washington) – were included in the first-round list to recognize their strong performance, but they are not eligible for the prize, according to organizers.

And the Aspen Prize goes to....

The selected colleges may submit applications containing detailed data on degree/certificate completion (including progress and transfer rates), labor market outcomes (employment and earnings) and student learning outcomes. They must demonstrate that they deliver exceptional student results for all students – including those from racial minority and/or low-income backgrounds – and also use data to inform decisions and continually improve over time.

Ten finalists will be named this fall. The winner will be announced in early 2015. 

"Community colleges have tremendous power to change lives, and their success will increasingly define our nation's economic strength and the potential for social mobility for every American," said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. "This competition is designed to spotlight the excellent work being done in the most effective community colleges, those that best help students obtain meaningful, high-quality education and training for competitive-wage jobs after college. We hope it will raise the bar and provide a roadmap for community colleges nationwide."

Valencia College receives Aspen Prize

The Aspen Prize is funded by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Joyce Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Lumina Foundation.

For more information on selected institutions, download the 2015 Round I data. A detailed technical description of how Round 1 eligibility was determined can be found here.

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