4 Alabama community colleges named best in U.S. by Aspen Institute

Wallace State
(Wallace State Community College / Facebook)

The Aspen Institute has named four Alabama Community Colleges to their list of the top community colleges in America.

The Oscars for great community colleges

This week, the Aspen Institute announced the top 150 Community Colleges in the U.S. to participate in the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among two-year colleges. 

President Obama called the bi-annual award program, “the Oscars for great community colleges.” 

The Alabama community colleges that made the list are:

“We at Northeast are very honored that the Aspen Institute recognizes the college as one of the top community colleges in America. Indeed, this is the sixth time we have been recognized for this honor, one of only a select group of community colleges in America that have been honored six times.”

Dr. David Campbell, President, Northeast Alabama Community College

2025 Aspen Prize criteria

The Aspen Prize honors colleges with outstanding achievement in six critical areas:

  • Teaching and learning
  • Certificate and degree completion
  • Transfer and bachelor’s attainment
  • Workforce success, access
  • Equity for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds

Nationwide, about 15 percent of community colleges have been invited to apply (150 of just under 1,000 public two-year colleges assessed for Prize eligibility).

The 2025 Aspen Prize is made possible through the generous support of Ascendium, the Joyce Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, and the Kresge Foundation.

The best community colleges are continuing to focus on advancing the core mission: making sure as many students as possible graduate with credentials that lead to fulfilling careers and reflect the development of diverse talent that communities, states, and our nation need.”

Josh Wyner, Executive Director, Aspen Institute College Excellence Program

Over the next year, the Aspen Institute will be evaluating and considering the four Alabama community colleges for the $1 million Aspen Prize. The award will be given in 2025. 

Have you attended one of the four Alabama community colleges that made Aspen Institute’s top 150 list? Tell us your favorite memory by tagging us on social media at @bthebamabuzz

Pat Byington
Pat Byington
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