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Leadership

Four ATD Network colleges announced as finalists for Aspen Prize

| Jennie Aranovitch

News & Updates
June 12, 2024

On June 11, the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence program announced 10 finalists for the $1 million 2025 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, one of the nation’s most prestigious recognitions of high achievement and performance among two-year colleges. The institutions selected for this honor are recognized for having high and improving levels of student success and equitable outcomes for Black, Hispanic, and economically marginalized students. 

Among the 10 finalists named, four are colleges within the Achieving the Dream Network. They are as follows: 

  • Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (Wisconsin) 
  • Northwest Vista College (Texas) 
  • San Jacinto College (Texas) 
  • Wallace State Community College-Hanceville (Alabama) 

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (2021) and Alamo Colleges District (2020), of which Northwest Vista College is a member, are previous winners of the Leah Meyer Austin Award (LMA), the highest distinction at ATD college can earn. Historically, 40% of Aspen Prize winners are LMA recipients. The 10 finalists were selected from a list of 20 semi-finalists, announced on May 7 — nine of which are Achieving the Dream Network institutions. 

Awarded every two years, the Aspen prize highlights exemplary community colleges that have achieved remarkable post-graduate success among their students. Eligibility for the award signifies outstanding accomplishment in six critical areas: teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s attainment, workforce success, broad access to the college and its offerings, and equity for minoritized and economically marginalized students. 

Since the Aspen Prize’s inception in 2011, more than 24 ATD Network colleges have won the award, been named a Top Ten Finalist, or received special recognition. Since 2013, more than half of all finalists for the Aspen Prize have been ATD Network institutions.  

The 2025 Aspen Prize cycle began in October of 2023 when the Aspen Institute invited 150 eligible community colleges to apply. The announcement of the winning college will take place on April 17, 2025. 

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