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CCCs Among Finalists for $1M Aspen Prize

July 14, 2022

smiling college graduatesCongratulations to Imperial Valley College and Moorpark College, which are among the top 10 finalists for the prestigious 2023 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

Once described by former president Barack Obama as “basically the Oscars for great community colleges,” the $1 million prize is one of the highest honors bestowed on community colleges in the U.S.

The Aspen Prize is awarded every two years to recognize colleges with outstanding achievement in five critical areas: teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s attainment, workforce success, and equity for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds.

The 10 finalists for the 2023 prize are:

  • Amarillo College, TX
  • Broward College, FL
  • Hostos Community College (CUNY), NY
  • Imperial Valley College, CA
  • Kingsborough Community College (CUNY), NY
  • Moorpark College, CA
  • Northwest Iowa Community College, IA
  • San Jacinto College, TX
  • South Puget Sound Community College, WA
  • Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, WI

Since the Aspen prize was first awarded in 2011, California community colleges have been among the top 10 in almost every cohort. Santa Barbara City College was the winner in 2013, and a finalist in 2011. Chaffey College was a finalist for the 2017 prize, while Pasadena City College has made the top 10 three times: in 2017, 2019, and 2021.

The 2023 prize selection process began in October 2021, when the Aspen Institute invited 150 community colleges to apply, based on data showing strong and improving student outcomes in key areas such as retention, completion, transfer, and equity. Twenty-eight of the invitees were California community colleges.

This fall, teams of experts will visit each of the 10 finalist colleges to collect additional student outcomes data and gather insights about effective practices. The winner will be selected by a distinguished jury and announced in the spring of 2023.