From Germanna Community College
The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program has named Germanna Community College one of the nation’s top 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. With a singular focus on student success, the Aspen Prize recognizes institutions with outstanding achievements in four areas: learning; certificate and degree completion; employment and earnings; and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.
Germanna and Mountain Empire Community College of Big Stone Gap are the only Virginia Community Colleges chosen by the Aspen Institute to be eligible for the $1 million prize.
Germanna recently started a Student Success Coach program that stays with students from enrollment to graduation, providing support, encouragement and a sense of accountability. GCC has also partnered with the Sunshine Lady Foundation to launch the Germanna Gladys P. Todd Academy early college program that allows minority and low-income students to graduate with an associate degree at no cost by the time they finish high school.
“Being included in this group of colleges from across the country is quite an honor,” said Germanna President Janet Gullickson. “We’re especially pleased to be recognized for our focus on student success and for reaching out to underserved students.”
Higher education attainment has never been more important. Estimates from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce suggest that out of the 11.6 million jobs created in the post-recession economy, 11.5 million require at least some college education. The vast majority of students who enroll in community colleges do so because they believe that postsecondary education will provide them a path to rewarding work, stable employment, and family-sustaining wages.
“Especially in the current social and economic climate, it is exceptionally important that our nation’s community colleges develop the diverse talent needed to fuel democratic engagement, social mobility, and economic opportunity and growth,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “Through this competition we’re working to inspire other institutions across our country to ensure more students succeed in college and their lives beyond those campuses.”
The 150 community colleges named today as eligible to compete for the 2019 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 300 students and as many as 95,000 students, these colleges represent the diversity and depth of the community college sector. This year, there are nearly 60 institutions eligible to compete for the Prize that were not eligible for the 2017 Aspen Prize. For a full list of the top 150 eligible institutions, visit: www.highered.aspeninstitute.org/aspen-prize.
The top ten finalists for the 2019 Aspen Prize will be named in May 2018. 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 Prize Jury will select a grand prize winner, finalist(s) with distinction, and rising star(s) in spring 2019. To read more on the selection process, visit: www.highered.aspeninstitute.org/aspen-prize.