Two Alabama community colleges named among nation’s top 150

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program has named two Alabama Community College System schools to its list of the nation’s top 150 community colleges, making them eligible to compete for $1 million in prize funds.

Both Calhoun Community College, which operates campuses in Decatur and Huntsville, and Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC), based in Rainsville, earned spots on the exclusive list compiled by the Washington, D.C.-based organization.

The Aspen Prize, awarded every two years, recognizes a high level of achievement and performance among U.S. community colleges. Chosen from an initial pool of 1,000 community colleges around the nation, this year’s list of top-performers includes colleges from 37 states; all have demonstrated strong outcomes in three areas of student success:

  • Rate of students' persistence, completion, and transfer;
  • Consistent improvement in outcomes over time; and
  • Equity in outcomes for students of all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds

“We are extremely excited to be among the list of community colleges invited to compete for the Aspen Prize,” Calhoun President Marilyn Beck said. “To be recognized among the nation’s best two-year colleges truly speaks well to the caliber of students, faculty and staff we have at Calhoun as well as the quality of our programs.”

NACC President David Campbell noted that the college has previously received this recognition from the Aspen Institute.

“That we are a repeat selection says a lot about the college,” Campbell said. “It says that our personnel and students have institutionalized the pursuit of excellence as a standard.”  

Prize winners will be announced in early 2015.