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August 14, 2012 > Aspen Institute publishes college data

Aspen Institute publishes college data

Submitted By Rachel Roth

The Aspen Institute recently published data that identifies institutions that excel in the following:

Performance (retention, graduation rates including transfers, and degrees and certificates per 100 "full time equivalent" students)

Improvement (steady improvement in each performance metric over time)

Equity (evidence of completion outcomes for minority and low-income students)

Metrics are used to determine the 120 top U.S. community colleges eligible for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. These institutions demonstrate strong performance when compared with the 1,008 public U.S. community colleges in first-year retention rate, three-year graduation and transfer rate, and credentials awarded per 100 "full-time equivalent" (FTE) students. They also demonstrate above average performance for underrepresented minority and low-income students, dispelling the idea that an individual's race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status necessarily result in low levels of educational attainment.

To download the data, visit:

Aspen's College Excellence Program announced the 120 top community colleges in April, challenging them to compete for the $1 million fund for the 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The 120 eligible community colleges were selected from a national pool of more than 1,000 public two-year colleges using publicly available data on student outcomes. The data were analyzed by an expert advisory committee co-chaired by William Trueheart, chief executive officer of Achieving the Dream, and Keith Bird, former chancellor of the Kentucky Community College System.

On May 25, Aspen received applications from ninety-six institutions. A list of the institutions that applied for the Prize is available at:

Ten finalists will be named in September. The Aspen Institute will conduct site visits to each of them in the fall. A distinguished prize jury co-chaired by John Engler, president of The Business Roundtable, former Michigan Governor, and Richard Riley, former South Carolina Governor and U.S. Secretary of Education, will select a grand prize winner and up to four runners-up, to be announced in March 2013.

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