Leaders support launch of US Competition to Reward and Spotlight Nation’s Top Community Colleges

April 14, 2011


Top 120 ranked community colleges to be announced, all eligible for inaugural  Aspen Prize fund of $1 million; high-profile selection “jury” to be introduced; major American foundations behind new venture


What: Following on President Obama’s announcement last October at the White House Community College Summit, national leaders in education, business, labor, philanthropy and civil rights will kick off the 8-month process that will lead to the selection of the nation’s first Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. These community colleges must demonstrate that students in their schools (1) gain knowledge and skills; (2) complete degree or certificate programs; and (3) obtain jobs with competitive wages.


The Prize will celebrate colleges that deliver exceptional student results, particularly critical for economic growth and opportunity, given that six million students – nearly half of all in postsecondary education — attend community colleges.


When: April 25, 12:00-2:00 PM


Where: The Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC




Dr. Jill Biden, Second Lady of the United States; professor of English, Northern Virginia Community College


Dr. Martha Kanter, Undersecretary of Education, US Department of Education


Jane Oates, Assistant Secretary, Employment and Training Administration, US Department of Labor


Jamie Merisotis, president, Lumina Foundation for Education


Richard Riley, former US Secretary of Education, former Governor of South Carolina, and senior partner, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough and EducationCounsel


Josh Wyner, executive director, Aspen Institute College Excellence Program


PARTNERS: The White House, Joyce Foundation, Lumina Foundation for Higher Education, Bank of America Foundation, JP Morgan Chase Foundation, US Department of Education, US Department of Labor


RSVP: Press should RSVP to Rachel Roth, Program Manager, Aspen Institute, at 202-736-2924.


The Aspen College Excellence Program aims to identify and replicate campus-wide practices that significantly improve college student outcomes. Through the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, projects targeting a new generation of college leaders, 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.AspenCCPrize.org.


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