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Aspen Institute Ranks Top 120 Community Colleges

Today, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program released a list of the top 120 community colleges, based on high standards for learning, completion rates, and training for competitive jobs.

For a full list of the colleges, click here.

Of the country's 1,200 community colleges, these schools ranked in the top 10 percent are eligible now to complete in the new $1 million fund for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. There will be one winner of approximately $700,000 and two to three runners-up announced in December.

Former Michigan Governor John Engler and former Secretary of Education Richard Riley will co-chair the jury.

The colleges that made the top list unveiled today were chosen after an analysis of publicly available data on student outcomes. An advisory committee, co-chaired by William Trueheart, chief executive officer of Achieving the Dream, a non-profit that works to help community college students succeed, and Keith Bird, former chancellor of the Kentucky Community College System, considered three criteria:

• performance (retention, graduation rates including transfers, and degrees and certificates for full-time students);
• improvement of completion performance over time; and
• equity (institutional record for completion outcomes for disadvantaged students).

Those schools that want to compete for the Aspen Prize must submit applications and show they deliver outstanding student results, use data to drive decisions and continually improve over time.

The Aspen Prize is funded by the Joyce Foundation, which also provides grant support to the publisher of Education Week; the Lumina Foundation for Education; the Bank of America Charitable Foundation; and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.

The prize was first announced at the White House Community College Summit in October.

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