SWCC Candidate Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence

Southwest Virginia Community College was the only member of the VCCS (Virginia Community College System) considered for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

aspen swccThe $1 million Aspen Prize is awarded every two years and is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges.

To be selected for the award means to be 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.

“The fact that SWCC was the only VCCS college to be considered for the prize, in addition to being one of only 150 colleges nationwide in the running for this prestigious award, demonstrates the level of teaching, counseling, and staff excellence taking place at Southwest. I am proud of the SWCC family and their commitment to student completion and success,” said Dr. Mark Estepp, president of SWCC.

“There are exceptional community colleges across our country providing students with a high-quality, affordable education that leads to good careers and strong economic opportunity,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “Through this competition, we’re working to inspire community colleges and help them understand how to ensure that more students succeed.”

“SWCC is honored to be selected as one of 150 community colleges nationwide to compete for this prestigious award. The Aspen Prize has drawn attention to the important role which community colleges play in preparing students to compete in a global society. SWCC faculty and staff have worked diligently to ensure greater outcomes for their students by providing high-quality, affordable education leading to high-wage career opportunities. I have always felt that SWCC is an exceptional college and being selected to compete for the Aspen Prize is an inspiration for all faculty and staff to strive for greater excellence,” said Dr. Barbara Fuller, vice president of academic and student services.

According to the Aspen Institute, “Nearly half of America’s college students attend community college, with more than seven million students-youth and adult learners-working toward certificates and degrees in these institutions across the country.”
The Aspen Institute, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and Lumina Foundation have partnered to support the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

Ten finalists will be selected in the fall of 2016. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data at that time. A distinguished Prize Jury will select a grand prize winner and finalists with distinction in early 2017.

For more information about this prestigious higher education award for excellence, go to the Aspen Institute website.

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