WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program has named the nation's top 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. Northeast Community College is among those institutions.
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. 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.”
“Northeast Community College has a stellar reputation that recognizes what our faculty and staff do each and every day to make sure our students are on the right path to achieve their goals,” said Mary Honke, co-interim president at Northeast. “Being named a Top 150 community college by the Aspen Institute is an accomplishment in itself and acknowledges our work of ensuring that our students and the region are successful in their endeavors. Speaking on behalf of the entire college community, it is certainly an honor that we can all be proud of.”
The 150 community colleges named as eligible to compete for the 2021 Prize were selected from a pool of over 1,100 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.
Northeast Community College has been recognized by the Aspen Institute in the past. It was named as a Top 120 institution in 2011, Top 120 in 2013, a Top 10 college in 2017, and Top 150 in 2019.