The Aspen Institute Names Semifinalists for Aspen Prize

The global nonprofit Aspen Institute has named 20 semifinalists for the 2025 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, a $1 million prize.

The award — funded by Ascendium, the Joyce Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, and the Kresge Foundation — recognizes colleges with outstanding performance in teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s attainment, workforce success, broad access to the college and its offerings, and equitable outcomes for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds.

Joshua WynerJoshua Wyner“Each of these colleges has demonstrated a sustained commitment to moving beyond enrollment and retention as the markers of student success to defining their success by whether the education they provide changes lives,” said Joshua Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, congratulated the semifinalists.

“These colleges understand that enrollment and graduation matter most when tied tightly to post-graduation success in transferring for a bachelor’s degree and in securing fulfilling, good-paying jobs and careers.”

The list of 2025 Aspen Prize semifinalists contains Broward College, Georgia Highlands College, Kingsborough Community College, MiraCosta College, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Moorpark College, North Iowa Area Community College, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Northwest Iowa Community College, and Northwest Vista College.

Other colleges still in the running for the award include San Jacinto College; Seminole State College of Florida; South Puget Sound Community College; Southwest Wisconsin Technical College; State Technical College of Missouri; Trinidad State College; Union College of Union County, New Jersey; Wallace State Community College-Hanceville; Western Technical College; and William Rainey Harper College.

The Aspen Institute plans to announce 10 finalists in June. The winner is expected to be announced in the spring of 2025, standing out among more than 1,000 community colleges nationwide as having high and improving levels of student success, including equitable outcomes for Black and Hispanic students and those from lower-income backgrounds.

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