News Article

Aspen Institute Names ASU-Beebe, ASU-Mountain Home Among Top 150 U.S. Community Colleges

11/05/2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program today named Arkansas State University-Beebe and Arkansas State University-Mountain Home among 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America's community colleges.

Based on strong and improving student outcomes – including in learning, completion rates, employment rates, earnings and equity – 15 percent of community colleges nationwide have been invited to apply for the Aspen Prize.

“The Aspen Prize is a tremendous goal for all community colleges because if focuses on student success,” said Dr. Jennifer Methvin, chancellor of ASU-Beebe.  “We are proud to compete with such an amazing group of colleges and demonstrate how the caliber of education our students receive at ASU-Beebe truly ‘transforms their lives.’”

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ASU-Beebe has been named in the high performing institutions previously, eligible to complete in four of the five award cycles offered since the inaugural Aspen Prize award in 2011.

“I am delighted with the recognition of our outstanding faculty, staff, and students with this third consecutive Aspen Award," said Dr. Robin Myers, chancellor of ASUMH. "Congratulations to everyone at ASUMH for having been named among the top 150 Community Colleges in the nation!  It is a privilege to work with such an exceptional group of people who are committed to the success of our students."

The 150 community colleges named today as eligible to compete for the 2021 Aspen Prize were selected from a pool of nearly 1,000 public two-year colleges nationwide using publicly available data on student outcomes. Located in 39 states in urban, rural, and suburban areas, serving as few as 500 students and as many as 75,000 students, these colleges represent the diversity and depth of the community college sector.

Data show that over the last two years, student retention, graduation rates, and degree completion have improved at the top tier of 150 Aspen Prize-eligible colleges.

“Community colleges play a vital role in developing talent and enabling social mobility across the country, and it’s critical for them to get better at what they do,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “We’re pleased to see evidence that these institutions are improving, that more are delivering on their promise. We’re also pleased to play a role in honoring outstanding community colleges and sharing what works to ensure great outcomes for students—through graduation and beyond.”

The top 10 finalists for the 2021 Aspen Prize will be named in May 2020. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data, including employment and earnings data. A distinguished jury will make award decisions in spring 2021.

For a full list of the top 150 eligible institutions and to read more on the selection process, visit www.highered.aspeninstitute.org/aspen-prize.

The Aspen Prize is funded by ECMC Foundation, Joyce Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and Siemens Foundation. The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes, especially for the growing population of low-income students and students of color on American campuses. For more information, visit http://highered.aspeninstitute.org/ and www.linkedin.com/showcase/aspenhighered.

The Aspen Institute is a community-serving organization with global reach whose vision is a free, just, and equitable society. For 70 years, the Institute has driven change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the world’s greatest challenges. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Institute has offices in Aspen, Colorado, and New York City, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.

Media Inquiries

Media inquiries and interview requests or requests for documents subject to the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act should be sent to Jeff Hankins, Vice President of Strategic Communications, at jhankins@asusystem.edu.

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