By MELINDA WILLIAMS
New River Community College is among only three Virginia community colleges and 150 nationwide in the running to win a national award and hefty monetary prize.
The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, which is awarded every two years, recognizes achievement and performance and carries a $1 million prize. Only New River, Virginia Western and Dabney S. Lancaster community colleges are in the running for the prize in Virginia.
Colleges nominated for the award have demonstrated strong outcomes in three areas of student success: the rate of students’ persistence, completion and transfer, consistent improvement in outcomes over time, and equity in outcomes for students of all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
The 150 nominated institutions, from 37 states, will now submit applications describing steps taken to improve student success on their campuses. The field of nominees will be narrowed to 10 finalists this fall and the winner will be announced early next year.
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C. The Board of Trustees is made up of individuals from the public and private sectors. The Aspen Institute, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Joyce Foundation and Lumina Foundation partnered to support the Aspen Prize in response to presidential initiatives and in recognition of the education and workforce imperatives facing the country.