Harper College

Harper among top 150 community colleges eligible for $1 million Aspen Prize

2023 Aspen Prize logoHarper College is among the top 150 institutions eligible for the nation’s signature recognition for America’s community colleges – the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program on November 2 announced its selection of 150 community colleges invited to apply to the 2023 Aspen Prize out of more than 1,000 institutions nationwide.

Awarded every two years, the Aspen Prize honors colleges with outstanding achievement in five critical areas: teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s attainment, workforce success, and equity for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds.

“Being selected as one of the 150 top institutions eligible for the Aspen Prize demonstrates Harper College’s commitment to closing equity gaps, advancing social and economic mobility and sustaining a student-centered culture that prepares students for success in their endeavors,” said Dr. Avis Proctor, president of Harper College. “We are honored to be in the running for this very prestigious recognition with many of the nation’s best community colleges.”

According to the Aspen announcement, “By focusing on student success and lifting up models that work, the Aspen Prize aims to celebrate excellence, advance a focus on equitable student success, and stimulate replication of effective culture and practice.”

Harper, which was also eligible for the 2017 Aspen Prize, is one of 10 eligible institutions in Illinois and one of just two from the Chicago area; only California and Florida had more.

“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.”

Aspen will narrow the field to 10 finalists sometime in spring/summer 2022. The 2023 Aspen Prize winner will be announced in spring 2023.

Last Updated: 3/14/24