Harper College is in the running for the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges.
The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program recently named Harper among the nation’s top 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence – and the $1 million in prize funds that accompanies it.
The Prize, awarded every two years, recognizes institutions for exceptional student outcomes in four areas: student learning; certificate and degree completion; employment and earnings; and access and success for minority and low-income students. The 150 community colleges were selected from a national pool of more than 1,000 public two-year colleges using publicly available data on student outcomes.
“Simply being told we can compete for the Aspen Prize is tremendous validation that we’re moving in the right direction,” Harper College President Dr. Ken Ender said.
The Aspen Institute, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Kresge Foundation and Lumina Foundation partnered to support the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence in response to President Barack Obama’s push to get more community college students through to high-wage career opportunities and further education, and in recognition of the education and workforce imperatives facing our country.
By focusing on student success and lifting up models that work, the Aspen Institute and its partners aim to further the national understanding of community colleges that strive to increase student success, stimulate innovation and create benchmarks for measuring progress.
Valencia College (Florida) won the inaugural prize in 2011, followed by co-winners Santa Barbara City College (California) and Walla Walla Community College (Washington) in 2013, and Santa Fe College (Florida) in 2015.
“There are exceptional community colleges across our country providing students with a high-quality, affordable education that leads to good careers and strong economic opportunity,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “Through this competition, we’re working to inspire community colleges and help them understand how to ensure that more students succeed.”
Ten finalists will be named in fall 2016.
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