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OTC Named Finalist For Aspen Prize For Community College Excellence

OTC named finalist for Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence

SPRINGFIELD, MO — The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program named Ozarks Technical Community College one of 150 finalists to compete for the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence and $1 million in prize funds. This is the third consecutive time OTC has been named a finalist to compete for this prestigious award.

“OTC is the community’s college. We are training and educating the workforce in a way that distinguishes us from other higher education institutions,” said Dr. Hal Higdon, chancellor of Ozarks Technical Community College. “We are excited to once again be recognized for excellence, and for producing the workforce for today and tomorrow.”

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.

“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 in a news release. “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.”

Ten finalists will be named in May of 2018. 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, rising stars and finalists with distinction in Spring 2019.

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, and Lake Area Technical College (South Dakota) earned the 2017 award.


Mark Miller, College Director of Communications • 417-447-2655 • 417-839-2886 •


1001 E. Chestnut Expressway, Springfield, Mo. 65802 • 417-447-7500 •

The Ozarks Technical Community College system offers associate degrees and certificates in a variety of technical, allied health and two-year transfer degree programs, as well as workforce development opportunities. Classes are available at six locations throughout southwest Missouri, including the option to earn a complete associate degree online. Find additional resources and information about OTC (including official wordmarks and images) at


 The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit



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