Our Projects

Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence

For millions of Americans, community colleges provide an essential pathway to well-paying jobs and continuing higher education. The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence honors those institutions that strive for and achieve exceptional levels of success for all students, while they are in college and after they graduate. “[The Aspen Prize is] basically the Oscars for great community colleges.” President Barack Obama, 2015.

Tackling Transfer

The majority of community college students aim to earn a bachelor’s degree, but only 14% do so within six years of entry. Aspen is working with several national partners to research transfer outcomes and replicate institutional practices that result in strong outcomes for transfer students.

Transformational Leadership

Through the Aspen Presidential Fellowship, curricular resources, hiring tools for boards of trustees, and partnerships with state education agencies, Aspen is developing a diverse cadre of change-makers equipped to lead significant, equitable improvements in student success at their colleges.

American Talent Initiative

The American Talent Initiative (ATI) brings colleges and universities together with the philanthropy and research communities in order to expand access and opportunity for talented low- and moderate-income students.

Excellence and Equity in Community College STEM Award

The Excellence and Equity in Community College STEM Award is designed to elevate community college programs that produce strong and equitable student outcomes in science, tech, engineering and math (STEM) fields and to recognize the diverse scholars in those programs.

Frontier Set

The Frontier Set is a diverse set of high-performing two-and four-year colleges, universities, and state systems, all committed to significantly increasing student access and success and eliminating racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in college attainment.

Workforce Education

The Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program is exploring how community colleges can meet the challenges of the changing labor market and create robust pathways to economic opportunity for all students.

Guided Pathways

Students are more likely to complete a degree on time if they have a clear academic road map and receive strong support to help them get on a path early in their college careers and stay on the path through graduation. The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program is a partner in the American Association of Community Colleges Pathways Project, a collaborative effort to help community colleges design and implement structured academic and career pathways at scale for all students.
  • Download research as well as practice guides and tools generated through our work.
    Our publications offer concrete examples, strategies, and tools aimed at helping colleges and their leaders improve student success in four areas: learning, completion, post-graduation employment, and equitable outcomes for underrepresented students.