The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program recently named South Louisiana Community College as one of 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The Aspen Prize, awarded every two years, is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. Focusing on student success, the Prize highlights institutions with outstanding achievements in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and high-levels of access and success for students of color and low-income students.
“The SLCC family works relentlessly to ensure the success of our students,” said Dr. Natalie Harder, SLCC Chancellor. “We are honored that Aspen recognizes this outstanding work and the excellence occurring on each SLCC campus.”
Only 15 percent of community colleges nationwide have received an invite to apply for the Aspen Prize. The 150 community colleges that were recently named eligible to compete for the 2021 Aspen Prize were selected from a pool of nearly 1,000 public two-year colleges nationwide using publicly available data on student outcomes. Located in 39 states in urban, rural, and suburban areas, serving as few as 500 students and as many as 75,000 students, these colleges represent the diversity and depth of the community college sector.
Data show that over the last two years, student retention, graduation rates, and degree completion have improved at the top tier of 150 Aspen Prize-eligible colleges.
“Community colleges play a vital role in developing talent and enabling social mobility across the country, and it’s critical for them to get better at what they do,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “We’re pleased to see evidence that these institutions are improving, that more are delivering on their promise. We’re also pleased to play a role in honoring outstanding community colleges and sharing what works to ensure great outcomes for students—through graduation and beyond.”
In May 2020, the Aspen Institute will release the top ten finalists for the 2021 Aspen Prize. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to finalists and collect additional quantitative data, including employment and earnings data. A distinguished jury will make award decisions in spring 2021.
Accelerate Your Performance Podcast
Dr. Natalie Harder, Chancellor of SLCC, has led her team through a historic merger with multiple campuses, successfully blended cultures, systems, processes, programs, and students all while maintaining a focus on making education available to everyone. Listen now to Episode 53 of our Accelerate Your Performance Podcast to hear Dr. Harder and Dr. Pilcher discuss the Aspen Prize, what it mean to build strong leadership teams and Dr. Harder’s advice for executive leaders.