The $1 million Aspen Prize, awarded every two years, honors community colleges that achieve exceptional levels of success for all students, while they are in college and after they graduate.
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.
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.
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.
Four of five U.S. school districts report equity gaps in dual enrollment. Aspen supports K-12 and community college leaders in expanding this pathway to a college degree or workforce credential to the many students who are missing out.
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.
The College Excellence Program at the Aspen Institute has created Leading for Community College Excellence, a set of curricular resources complete with case studies, videos, discussion questions, and recommended activities designed to help existing graduate education and community college professional development programs produce exceptional leaders who can improve student success.
The Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence is preparing the next generation of community college presidents to lead institutions that achieve exceptional outcomes for students in learning, completion, post-transfer success and the labor market—and equity in those outcomes for students historically underserved in higher education. Over the course of a ten-month program including residential seminars, structured mentoring, and development of an analytic portfolio, fellows are given the opportunity to learn from and alongside each other about strategies for achieving exceptional student outcomes. The Fellowship was designed and is delivered in collaboration with the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative.