Hancock Among the Top 150 Community Colleges in the Nation, Eligible for $1 Million Aspen Prize

This is the fourth time the college has been recognized by the Aspen Institute

OCTOBER 11, 2017--Allan Hancock College is once again among the nation’s top 150 community colleges and is eligible to compete for the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence and $1 million in prize funds. The institute started identifying the nation’s top community colleges in 2011. This is the fourth time Hancock has been recognized.

The prize is awarded every two years and is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. Institutions are recognized for exceptional student outcomes in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.

More than seven million students – nearly half of America’s college students – attend a community college. In California, 2.1 million students are enrolled in 114 community colleges.

The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence honors institutions that strive for and achieve exceptional levels of success for all students, while they are in college and after they graduate.

"We are grateful to be nominated once again for this prestigious award,” said Hancock Superintendent/President Kevin G. Walthers, Ph.D. “This is tangible evidence of our faculty and staff commitment to changing the odds for our students.”

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 post-secondary 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.”

Allan Hancock College and the other 149 community colleges were selected from a national pool of nearly 1,000 public two-year colleges using publicly available data on student outcomes. According to the Aspen Institute, the formula used to select the colleges was devised by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems in consultation with an expert advisory committee. The data focuses on student retention and completion, considered from three perspectives:

  • Performance (retention, graduation rates including transfers, and degrees and certificates per 100 “full-time equivalent” students)
  • Change Over Time (awarded for steady improvement in each performance metric over time)
  • Equity (evidence of strong completion outcomes for minority and low-income students)

To ensure full representation of the range and diversity of the sector, adjustments were applied with respect to mission, size and minority representation.

Hancock will move forward to the next round of the competition for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence by submitting an application to be reviewed through a rigorous evaluation for a spot on the top ten Aspen Prize finalists list. Top ten finalists will be named in May 2018. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data. A distinguished Prize Jury will select a grand prize winner, finalist(s) with distinction, and rising star(s) in spring 2019. For a full list of the top 150 eligible institutions, visit: www.highered.aspeninstitute.org/aspen-prize.

The Aspen College Excellence Program aims to identify and replicate practices and policies that significantly improve college student outcomes. Through the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the New College Leadership Project and other initiatives, the College Excellence Program works to improve college’s and policy-makers’ understanding of what is needed to teach and graduate post-secondary students, especially the growing population of low-income and minority students on American campuses. For more information, visit http://www.aspeninstitute.org/cep.

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Aspen Institute 2017

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Last Modified Oct 23, 2018