HAZARD — Highlighting the critical importance of improving student success in America’s community colleges, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program named Hazard Community and Technical College as one of the nation’s top 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence and $1 million dollars in prize funds, as well as Siemens Technical Scholars Program student scholarships. HCTC and West Kentucky Community and Technical College are the only two colleges in Kentucky named to this honor.
The Prize, awarded every two years, is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges and recognizes institutions for exceptional student outcomes in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and access and success for minority and low-income students.
Dr. Juston Pate, HCTC interim president, said this tremendous honor is very well deserved. “Our faculty and staff are a very talented and dedicated group of individuals who are very committed to student success. I’m pleased to see how students are the No. 1 priority in decision making. That mindset leads to our excellence,” Dr. Pate said.
Nearly half of America’s college students attend community college, with more than seven million students – youth and adult learners – working towards certificates and degrees in these institutions across the country.
“Community colleges have tremendous power to change lives, and their success will increasingly define our nation’s economic strength and the potential for social mobility in our country,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “This competition is designed to spotlight the excellent work being done in the most effective community colleges, those that best help students obtain meaningful, high-quality education and training for competitive-wage jobs after college. We hope it will raise the bar and provide a roadmap to better student outcomes for community colleges nationwide.”
A full list of the selected colleges and details on the selection process are available at www.aspenprize.org.