(Release: June 7, 2012) - Hagerstown Community College has been named one of 120 community colleges nationwide to compete for the $1 million fund for the 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.
“We are extremely honored to be selected to compete for this prestigious award,” said Guy Altieri, HCC president. “The Aspen Institute selects institutions they feel are the best 120 community colleges in a given year, based on pre-established criteria. It is not something we applied for.”
The Aspen Institute identified the 120 community colleges -- 10 percent of all institutions -- using a quantitative formula that assesses performance and improvement in four areas: graduation rates, degrees awarded, student retention rates, and equity in student outcomes. These colleges will now compete for the prestigious honor following a year-long research process into how well their students learn, complete degrees, and get jobs with competitive wages after graduating.
“In Maryland, we recognize that education and training beyond high school is critical to preparing our students to compete in the 21st century,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Together, we have set the ambitious goal of increasing the proportion of Maryland’s adult population with a postsecondary degree or credential to 55 percent by 2025. Our state’s 16 community colleges are key to our success in reaching this goal. We applaud the Aspen Institute for its bold agenda for advancing higher education at our nation’s community colleges, and we fully expect that Maryland will continue to serve as a leader in making this vision a reality.”
In August, an expert selection committee will select 10 finalists, from the initial 120. The Aspen Institute will conduct site visits to each of the finalists in the fall. A distinguished Prize Jury co-chaired by John Engler, president of Business Roundtable, former Michigan Governor, and former president of the National Association of Manufacturers, and Richard Riley, former South Carolina Governor and U.S. Secretary of Education, will select a grand prize winner and four runners-up, to be announced in March 2013. The first prize is $600,000, with the four finalist colleges each receiving $100,000.
The Aspen Prize was awarded for the first time in December 2011 to Valencia College in Orlando, Fla. A full list of the 120 community colleges selected for the 2013 award is available at www.AspenCCPrize.org.