The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program has named Central Community College as one of 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.

Based on strong and improving student outcomes — including in learning, completion rates, employment rates and earnings, and equity — 15% of community colleges nationwide have been invited to apply for the Aspen Prize.

“We are pleased to be recognized nationally for our work in documenting increases in student success measures as we seek to fill the workforce needs in Central Nebraska,” said CCC President Matt Gotschall.

The 150 community colleges named Wednesday as eligible to compete for the 2021 Aspen Prize were selected from a pool of nearly 1,000 public two-year colleges nationwide using publicly available data on student outcomes.

“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.”

The top 10 finalists for the 2021 Aspen Prize will be named in May 2020. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data, including employment and earnings data. A distinguished jury will make award decisions in spring 2021.

For a full list of the top 150 eligible institutions and to read more on the selection process, go to www.highered.aspeninstitute.org/aspen-prize.

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