"We recognize that there are many community colleges around the country that are employing innovative strategies and achieving excellent results for their students," the release says. "The bar for the Aspen Prize was intentionally set high in order to identify those institutions that have demonstrated high levels of student success."
In a comprehensive review of publicly available data, these 120 two-year institutions-from 32 states-have demonstrated strong outcomes considering three areas of student success:
- student success in persistence and completion,
- consistent improvement in outcomes over time, and
- equity in outcomes for students of all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
With technical support from the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems and guidance from the institute's Data/Metrics Advisory Panel, this first round of the prize selection process was designed to incorporate a broad range of criteria using nationally available data. Aspen looked at a variety of metrics, including graduation rates, retention rates and the total number of degrees or certificates awarded relative to total enrollment, taking into account part-time students as well as full-time students.
A full list of the 120 community colleges is available here.