Community Colleges

Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence List Announced

January 23, 2014

Aspen Institute College Excellence Program Executive Director Josh Wyner discusses the Aspen Prize and the common characteristics community college contenders for the prize embody.

The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence has announced its list of the 150 contenders for the $1 million prize. The eligible institutions hail from 37 states, and have all demonstrated strong outcomes in three areas of student success:

  • rate of students’ persistence, completion, and transfer;
  • consistent improvement in outcomes over time; and
  • equity in outcomes for students of all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Ten finalists will be broadly publicized in fall 2014, and the winner will be announced in early 2015. Read below to see the list of the 150 schools who are being considered for the prize. For more information on these institutions, download the 2015 round one data here. A detailed technical description of how round one eligibility was determined can be found here.


Video Playlist: Josh Wyner on the Benefits of Attending Community College, and why more attention should be paid to these institutions

2015 Eligible Community Colleges for the Aspen Prize


  • Calhoun Community College Tanner, AL
  • Northeast Alabama Community College Rainsville, AL


  • Arizona Western College Yuma, AZ
  • Cochise College Douglas, AZ
  • Estrella Mountain Community College Avondale, AZ
  • GateWay Community College Phoenix, AZ
  • Paradise Valley Community College Phoenix, AZ
  • Phoenix College Phoenix, AZ
  • Scottsdale Community College Scottsdale, AZ
  • South Mountain Community College Phoenix, AZ


  • Pulaski Technical College North Little Rock, AR
  • Southern Arkansas University Tech Camden, AR
  • University of Arkansas Community College-Morrilton Morrilton, AR


  • Allan Hancock College Santa Maria, CA
  • Citrus College Glendora, CA
  • Coastline Community College Fountain Valley, CA
  • Imperial Valley College Imperial, CA
  • Moorpark College Moorpark, CA
  • Mt. San Jacinto Community College District San Jacinto, CA
  • San Joaquin Delta College Stockton, CA

**While the performance of Santa Barbara City College would otherwise qualify it for Prize eligibility, as the 2013 co-winner, Santa Barbara is ineligible for the 2015 award. 


  • Colorado Mountain College Glenwood Springs, CO
  • Trinidad State Junior College Trinidad, CO


Manchester Community College Manchester, CT 


  • Broward College Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Chipola College Marianna, FL
  • Eastern Florida State College Cocoa, FL
  • Edison State College Fort Myers, FL
  • Indian River State College Fort Pierce, FL
  • Lake-Sumter Community College Leesburg, FL
  • Miami-Dade College Miami, FL
  • Northwest Florida State College Niceville, FL
  • Palm Beach State College Lake Worth, FL
  • Pasco-Hernando Community College New Port Richey, FL
  • Santa Fe College Gainesville, FL
  • South Florida State College Avon Park, FL
  • State College of Florida-Manatee-Sarasota Bradenton, FL
  • Tallahassee Community College Tallahassee, FL

**While the performance of Valencia College (Orlando, FL) would otherwise qualify it for Prize eligibility, as the 2011 winner, Valencia is ineligible for the 2015 award.  


  • Darton State College Albany, GA
  • Southwest Georgia Technical College Thomasville, GA


  • Ellsworth Community College Iowa Falls, IA
  • Indian Hills Community College Ottumwa, IA
  • North Iowa Area Community College Mason City, IA
  • Northwest Iowa Community College Sheldon, IA
  • Southeastern Iowa Community College West Burlington, IA


  • City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College Chicago, IL
  • City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright College Chicago, IL
  • Elgin Community College Elgin, IL
  • Illinois Eastern Community Colleges-Olney Central College Olney, IL
  • Illinois Eastern Community Colleges-Wabash Valley College Mount Carmel, IL
  • Kishwaukee College Malta, IL
  • McHenry County College Crystal Lake, IL
  • Morton College Cicero, IL
  • Rend Lake College Ina, IL


  • Colby Community College Colby, KS
  • Flint Hills Technical College Emporia, KS
  • Garden City Community College Garden City, KS
  • Hutchinson Community College Hutchinson, KS
  • North Central Kansas Technical College Beloit, KS
  • Northwest Kansas Technical College Goodland, KS
  • Pratt Community College Pratt, KS
  • Salina Area Technical College Salina, KS
  • Seward County Community College and Area Technical School Liberal, KS


  • Hazard Community and Technical College Hazard, KY
  • Madisonville Community College Madisonville, KY
  • Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College Cumberland, KY
  • West Kentucky Community and Technical College Paducah, KY


  • Northwest Louisiana Technical College Minden, LA
  • South Louisiana Community College Lafayette, LA
  • Sowela Technical Community College Lake Charles, LA


  • Kennebec Valley Community College Fairfield, ME
  • Northern Maine Community College Presque Isle, ME
  • Washington County Community College Calais, ME


  • Frederick Community College Frederick, MD
  • Montgomery College Rockville, MD


Massasoit Community College Brockton, MA 


  • Delta College University Center, MI
  • Macomb Community College Warren, MI
  • Mott Community College Flint, MI


  • Alexandria Technical & Community College Alexandria, MN
  • Central Lakes College-Brainerd Brainerd, MN
  • Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, MN
  • Minnesota West Community and Technical College Granite Falls, MN
  • North Hennepin Community College Brooklyn Park, MN
  • Northland Community and Technical College Thief River Falls, MN
  • Rainy River Community College International Falls, MN
  • Ridgewater College Willmar, MN


  • East Mississippi Community College Scooba, MS
  • Hinds Community College Raymond, MS
  • Holmes Community College Goodman, MS
  • Itawamba Community College Fulton, MS
  • Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Perkinston, MS
  • Pearl River Community College Poplarville, MS
  • Southwest Mississippi Community College Summit, MS


  • Linn State Technical College Linn, MO
  • Metropolitan Community College-Business & Technology Kansas City, MO
  • Moberly Area Community College Moberly, MO


  • Dawson Community College Glendive, MT
  • Miles Community College Miles City, MT


Southeast Community College Area Lincoln, NE

New Jersey

  • Middlesex County College Edison, NJ
  • Ocean County College Toms River, NJ

New Mexico

New Mexico State University – Dona Ana Community College Las Cruces, NM

New York

  • CUNY Hostos Community College Bronx, NY
  • CUNY Kingsborough Community College Brooklyn, NY
  • CUNY LaGuardia Community College Long Island City, NY
  • Genesee Community College Batavia, NY
  • Herkimer County Community College Herkimer, NY

North Carolina

  • Alamance Community College Graham, NC
  • Cape Fear Community College Wilmington, NC
  • Central Piedmont Community College Charlotte, NC
  • Surry Community College Dobson, NC


 Southern State Community College Hillsboro, OH


Northern Oklahoma College Tonkawa, OK


Lane Community College Eugene, OR


  • Northampton Community College Bethlehem, PA
  • Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology Lancaster, PA

South Dakota

  • Lake Area Technical Institute Watertown, SD
  • Mitchell Technical Institute Mitchell, SD


  • Alvin Community College Alvin, TX
  • Brazosport College Lake Jackson, TX
  • Cedar Valley College Lancaster, TX
  • Del Mar College Corpus Christi, TX
  • El Paso Community College El Paso, TX
  • Kilgore College Kilgore, TX
  • Lee College Baytown, TX
  • Mountain View College Dallas, TX
  • North Lake College Irving, TX
  • San Jacinto College Pasadena, TX
  • South Texas College McAllen, TX
  • Texas State Technical College Harlingen Harlingen, TX
  • Texas State Technical College-Marshall Marshall, TX
  • Texas State Technical College-West Texas Sweetwater, TX
  • Trinity Valley Community College Athens, TX
  • Western Texas College Snyder, TX
  • Wharton County Junior College Wharton, TX


Snow College Ephraim, UT


  • Dabney S Lancaster Community College Clifton Forge, VA
  • New River Community College Dublin, VA
  • Virginia Western Community College Roanoke, VA


  • Columbia Basin College Pasco, WA
  • Olympic College Bremerton, WA
  • Renton Technical College Renton, WA
  • Skagit Valley College Mount Vernon, WA
  • Whatcom Community College Bellingham, WA

**While the performance of Walla Walla Community College (Walla Walla, WA) would otherwise qualify it for Prize eligibility, as the 2013 co-winner, Walla Walla is ineligible for the 2015 award. 

West Virginia

Carver Career & Technical Center Charleston, WV


  • Chippewa Valley Technical College Eau Claire, WI
  • Lakeshore Technical College Cleveland, WI
  • Moraine Park Technical College Fond du Lac, WI
  • Northcentral Technical College Wausau, WI
  • Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Shell Lake, WI