The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program named Ozarks Technical Community College one of 150 finalists to compete for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence and $1 million in prize funds. OTC was one of just two Missouri community colleges recognized by the Aspen Institute. This is the second time in three rounds OTC has been selected.
“At OTC, we believe that if our students succeed then the community succeeds,” said Dr. Hal Higdon, chancellor of Ozarks Technical Community College. “This recognition from the highly respected Aspen Institute is a great honor and validation that our students are succeeding.”
The Aspen Prize, awarded every two years, recognizes institutions for outstanding student outcomes in four areas: student learning; certificate and degree completion; employment and earnings; and access and success for minority and low-income students.
The 150 community colleges announced as finalists were selected from a national pool of over 1,000 public two-year colleges using publicly available data on student outcomes. Now, OTC has the opportunity to apply for the Aspen Prize. That will involve submitting detailed data on degree and certificate completion (including progress and transfer rates), labor market outcomes (employment and earnings), and student learning outcomes.
“There are exceptional community colleges across our country providing students with a high-quality, affordable education that leads to good careers and strong economic opportunity,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “Through this competition, we’re working to inspire community colleges and help them understand how to ensure that more students succeed.”
Ten finalists will be named in the fall of 2016. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional data, including employment and earnings data from states and transfer data from the National Student Clearinghouse. A distinguished Prize Jury will select a grand prize winner and finalists with distinction in early 2017.
Valencia College (Florida) won the inaugural Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence in 2011, followed by co-winners Santa Barbara City College (California) and Walla Walla Community College (Washington) in 2013. Santa Fe College (Florida) won the prize in 2015.