NVC Among Top 150 Community Colleges in U.S. to Compete for Aspen Prize

November 5, 2019

NVC Marketing & Strategic Communications

$1 Million Prize Recognizes Excellence in Equitable
Outcomes for Students in and After College

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program today named Northwest Vista College, San Antonio College, and Palo Alto College - three of the colleges of the Alamo Colleges District, to the list 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. Only 15 percent of community colleges nationwide have been invited to apply for the Aspen Prize.

“We are honored to be among a small pool of community colleges that is eligible for this prestigious award,” said NVC President Dr. Ric Baser. “NVC faculty and staff passionately guide our students on the path to success and help them improve the quality of life for their families.”

The 150 community colleges 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. 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.

Data shows 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. The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes, especially for the growing population of low-income students and students of color on American campuses.

All three Alamo Colleges District colleges also were named to the list for the 2019 Aspen Prize, which is awarded every two years. Palo Alto College was a finalist for the 2019 Aspen Prize and was recognized for its strong record of improvement with the Rising Star award, receiving $100,000.

“Congratulations to Dr. Flores, the Alamo Colleges District Board, and the colleges on this prestigious national recognition,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “The Alamo Colleges District is a key partner with the city in AlamoPROMISE and other critical initiatives and provides educational excellence to its students, which is a major contributor to the prosperity of our residents and the city.”

The top ten 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.

“This is a well-deserved national recognition for our colleges, and we are proud to have three of them receive such an honor twice in a row,” said Alamo Colleges District Chancellor Dr. Mike Flores. “I congratulate the college presidents, faculty and staff who model excellence every day to ensure that our students achieve the success that will lead to economic and social mobility for themselves and their families.”

For a full list of the top 150 eligible institutions and to read more on the selection process, visit www.highered.aspeninstitute.org/aspen-prize. The Aspen Prize is funded by ECMC Foundation, Joyce Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and Siemens Foundation.

About The Aspen Institute: 

The Aspen Institute is a community-serving organization with global reach whose vision is a free, just, and equitable society. For 70 years, the Institute has driven change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the world’s greatest challenges. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Institute has offices in Aspen, Colorado, and New York City, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitu