Submitted by South Puget Sound Community College

For the third time in a row, South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) has been named as one of the nation’s top 150 community colleges by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. SPSCC will apply to compete for the 2021 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence and $1 million dollars in prize funds.

Highlighting the critical importance of improving student success in America’s community colleges, the College Excellence Program selects its top 150 every two years from a pool of nearly 1,000 public two-year colleges nationwide using publicly available data on student outcomes. SPSCC was also recognized as a top 150 community college in Aspen Institute’s 2017 and 2019 nominations.

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized again by Aspen,” said Dr. Timothy Stokes, president of SPSCC. “Our staff and faculty have been doing incredible work to build systems that support both student access and success while tackling systemic barriers every day so that our students can get in, stay in, and complete their education. This is truly a testament to the value of that work.”

The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. Based on strong and improving student outcomes—including in learning, completion rates, employment rates and earnings, and equity—15 percent of community colleges nationwide have been invited to apply for the Aspen Prize.

Data shows 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.

About the Aspen Institute

The 2021 Aspen Prize is funded by ECMC Foundation, Joyce Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and Siemens Foundation.

The Aspen Institute is a community-serving organization with global reach whose vision is a free, just, and equitable society. For 70 years, the Institute has driven change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the world’s greatest challenges. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Institute has offices in Aspen, Colorado, and New York City, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit highered.aspeninstitute.org.

*This release was written by The Aspen Institute with contributions from SPSCC staff.

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