Highlighting the critical importance of improving student success in America’s community colleges, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program has named Herkimer County Community College as one of the nation’s top 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community Excellence and $1 million dollars in prize funds.
The Aspen Prize, awarded every two years, is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges and 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.
Nearly half of America’s college students attend community college, with more than seven million students – youth and adult learners – working towards certificates and degrees in these institutions across the country.
“Community colleges play a critical educational, social and economic development role in our nation and our communities. It is an honor to be named among the most effective community colleges in the nation,” said Herkimer College President Cathleen C. McColgin.
Herkimer College, along with Rockland Community College, are the only two SUNY community colleges to make the list. A full list of the selected colleges and details on the selection process are available at www.aspenprize.org.
Herkimer College and 149 other community colleges in 35 states were selected from a national pool of over 1,000 public two-year colleges using publicly available data on student outcomes in three areas: performance (retention, graduation rates including transfers, and degrees and certificates per 100 full-time equivalent students); improvement (awarded for steady improvement in each performance metric over time); and equity (evidence of strong completion outcomes for minority and low-income students).
Herkimer College has been invited to submit an application to the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence containing detailed data on degree and certificate completion (including progress and transfer rates), labor market outcomes (employment and earnings), and student learning outcomes.
Ten finalists will be named in fall 2016. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data. A distinguished Prize Jury will select a grand prize winner and a few finalists with distinction in early 2017.
The Aspen Prize is funded by the Joyce Foundation, the Siemens Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation.
The Aspen College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes. Through the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the New College Leadership Project, and other initiatives, the College Excellence Program works to improve colleges’ understanding and capacity to teach and graduate students, especially the growing population of low-income and minority students on American campuses. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org/college-excellence.
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization whose mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.