5 Michigan Community Colleges Shortlisted For Prestigious Million-Dollar Aspen Prize

Five of Michigan’s 28 community colleges are eligible for the 2017 Aspen Award for Community College Excellence, a coveted award that recognizes two-year institutions that have “demonstrated exceptional levels of student achievement.”

The list, released Tuesday, includes 150 colleges from 35 states. The Michigan institutions vying for the award are: Alpena Community College, Mott Community College, Flint; Delta College, near Bay City; Schoolcraft College, Livonia; and the Wayne County Community College District, Detroit.

Ten finalists will be announced in fall 2016, according to the Aspen Institute, a Washington DC-based education policy group. The prize, awarded every two years, is endowed with one million dollars in funds.

Schools are considered for the award based on their performance in four areas: student learning, certification and graduation, employment and income, and access and success. low-income and minority students.

“There are outstanding community colleges across our country that provide students with an affordable, high-quality education that leads to great careers and strong economic opportunities,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the University Excellence Program at the Aspen Institute, in a statement. “Through this competition, we strive to inspire community colleges and help them understand how to get more students to succeed.”

Nearly half of American students attend community college, according to Aspen.

Community colleges welcome all types of students, but compared to four-year institutions, their students are more likely to be older, attend part-time, and have low incomes. More than seven million students are pursuing degrees and certificates at community colleges, the organization said.

A recent report from Columbia University’s Community College Research Center showed that in states like Michigan, students who start at community college and transfer to a four-year institution often struggle to earn a bachelor’s degree in time. timely.

Brian McVicar covers education for MLive. Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter