The Aspen Institute Names Kingsborough One Of 150 U.S. Community Colleges Eligible For 2023 Aspen Prize
Kingsborough Community College was named one of the 150 institutions eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence today by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. This is the seventh consecutive time KCC has been named an Aspen Prize Top 150 U.S. Community College since the prize’s inception in 2010. . Sister CUNY colleges Borough of Manhattan Community College, Hostos Community College, LaGuardia Community College, Queensborough Community College, and Stella and Charles Guttman Community College also made the first cut. The Prize winner will be announced in spring 2023.
The Aspen Prize spotlights exemplary community colleges in order to elevate the sector, drive attention to colleges doing the best work, and discover and share highly effective student success and equity strategies. Since 2010, Aspen has chosen to focus intensively on community colleges because they are — as First Lady Dr. Jill Biden stated at the 2021 Aspen Prize ceremony — “a powerful engine of prosperity.”
But student outcomes vary enormously among community colleges, and improving those outcomes is essential to securing our nation’s economic future, strengthening communities, and ensuring that diverse populations experience economic mobility and prosperity. With these goals in mind, 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.
Student success guides all aspects of Kingsborough, which is also a designated Achieving the Dream Leader College of Distinction. “Dreams not only begin here,” said KCC President Claudia V. Schrader, referring to the college’s tagline. “Our faculty and staff have a long-standing commitment to student success, and do all they can to help our students realize their dreams. Being nominated for the Aspen Prize is the highest acknowledgment of our dedication.”
“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.”
Chosen from more than 1,000 community colleges nationwide, the eligible colleges represent the diversity and depth of the community college sector. Located in urban, rural, and suburban areas across 34 states, these colleges serve as few as 230 students and as many as 57,000.
Based on publicly available data, eligible colleges must show strong and improving student outcomes in key areas such as retention, completion, transfer, and equity. Nationwide, 15 percent of community colleges (150 of the approximately 1,000 public two-year colleges nationwide assessed for the Prize) have been invited to apply—the full list can be accessed at www.highered.aspeninstitute.org/aspen-prize.
The next steps in the process include:
- Selection of the top ten finalists by an expert panel of 15 experts in community colleges, higher education, and workforce training, to be announced in spring/summer 2022
- Fall 2022 site visits to each of the ten finalists, during which the Aspen Institute and partners will collect additional information, including employment and earnings data and insights about promising practices
- A distinguished jury will meet and make award decisions in the first quarter of early 2023
- Announcement of the Aspen Prize in late spring 2023 generously funded by Ascendium and the Joyce Foundation.
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The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes, especially for the growing population of low-income students and students of color on American campuses. For more information, www.highered.aspeninstitute.org and www.linkedin.com/showcase/aspenhighered, and follow @AspenHigherEd on Twitter. The Aspen Prize hashtag is #AspenPrize.
The Aspen Institute is a community-serving organization with global reach whose vision is a free, just, and equitable society. For 70 years, the Institute has driven change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the world’s greatest challenges. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Institute has offices in Aspen, Colorado, and New York City, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.
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