The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program today named College of San Mateo as one of 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. Based on strong and improving student outcomes—including in learning, completion rates, employment rates and earnings, and equity—15 percent of community colleges nationwide have been invited to apply for the Aspen Prize.
“This national recognition reflects the superior quality of a College of San Mateo education,” said Acting President Kim Lopez. “I’m proud of our faculty and staff who have worked so hard to support student success.”
The 150 community colleges 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. The eligible colleges are located in 39 states and represent urban, rural, and suburban campuses with enrollment ranging from 500 to 75,000 students.
College of San Mateo will be submitting its application in early December to compete for the Aspen Prize. The criteria include student completion outcomes, transfer outcomes, labor market outcomes, student learning, and equity, among other criteria.
In addition, CSM is eligible to apply for the Excellence and Equity in Community College STEM Award, which recognizes outstanding community college STEM programs. CSM will enter its Electrical Power Systems & Instrumentation and Nursing programs to compete for the STEM award. Eight colleges will receive prizes of $50,000 each for program development and scholarships.
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.”
The top ten finalists for the 2021 Aspen Prize will be named in May 2020. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data, including employment and earnings data. A distinguished jury will make award decisions in spring 2021.
Previous winners of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence are: Miami Dade College (FL) and Indian River State College (FL), 2019; Lake Area Technical College (SD), 2017; Santa Fe College (FL), 2015; Santa Barbara City College (CA) and Walla Walla Community College (WA), 2013; Valencia College (FL), 2011.
For a full list of the top 150 eligible institutions and to read more on the selection process, visit www.highered.aspeninstitute.org/aspen-prize.
For information on College of San Mateo visit:
The Aspen Prize is generously funded by ECMC Foundation, Joyce Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and Siemens Foundation.
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, visit http://highered.aspeninstitute.org/ and www.linkedin.com/showcase/aspenhighered and follow @AspenHigherEd on Twitter.
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.