Aspen Institute Names Atlanta Technical College as a Top 150 U.S. Community College Eligible for 2021 Aspen Prize

November 5, 2019

$1 Million Prize Recognizes Excellence in Equitable Outcomes for Students in and After College

ATLANTA (Nov. 5, 2019) – The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program today named Atlanta Technical College as one of 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 learning, completion rates, employment rates and earnings, and equity—15 percent of community colleges nationwide have been invited to apply for the Aspen Prize.

“Here at Atlanta Technical College, we pride ourselves on empowering students to transform their lives through the power of technical education,” said Dr. Victoria Seals, President, Atlanta Technical College. “I want to thank the Aspen Institute for recognizing our commitment to educational excellence, highlighting the quality of our instruction,  and the impact we have on the communities we serve. We are grateful for this recognition and look forward to advancing in this unique competition among our peers.”

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 ten 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.

Previous winners of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence are: Miami Dade College (FL) and Indian River State College (FL), 2019; Lake Area Technical College (SD), 2017; Santa Fe College (FL), 2015; Santa Barbara City College (CA) and Walla Walla Community College (WA), 2013; Valencia College (FL), 2011.

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.

For more information on Atlanta Technical College, please visit www.atlantatech.edu.

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 Atlanta Technical College is a vibrant part of the Technical College System of Georgia and was named its College of the Year in 2012. Prior to that, the college was selected as America’s Best Community College by Washington Monthly magazine. Most recently, Atlanta Technical College has been ranked one of the best in the nation for online courses and programs. In 2017, Atlanta Technical College celebrated 50 years of serving the City of Atlanta along with Fulton and Clayton Counties. For more information on Atlanta Technical College and its 150 programs, visit www.atlantatech.edu.