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Published on Oct 13, 2017

Aspen top 150

Big Sandy Community and Technical College has been named as one of only 150 institutions nationally to be eligible for the fifth biennial $1 million 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance in America’s community colleges. 

The Aspen Prize, awarded every two years, has brought a new level of public attention to community colleges, defined comprehensive measures of excellence in outcomes for community college students, and uncovered and disseminated practices that help exceptional colleges ensure great outcomes for their students. 

All prize-winning community colleges were selected from a national pool of over 1,000 public two-year colleges using publicly available data on student outcomes in three areas:

  • Performance (retention, graduation rates including transfers, and degrees and certificates per 100 full-time equivalent students)
  • Improvement (awarded for steady improvement in each performance metric over time)
  • Equity (evidence of strong completion outcomes for minority and low-income students). 

The top-150 is the first step in the process for awarding the prize in 2019. Aspen invites each eligible institution to submit an application to the Aspen Prize. A selection committee of higher education experts will review submitted materials and select 10 finalist institutions. From there, a more intensive review takes place, which will include visits to the selected colleges and the collection of additional quantitative data. A distinguished jury will select a grand prize winner and a few finalists with distinction in 2019.

“Big Sandy Community and Technical is dedicated to student success,” said President Sherry Zylka.  “We are also committed to being a catalyst for innovative advancements in workforce here in Eastern Kentucky. We are honored to be among the top 150 institutions considered for the Aspen Prize.” 

The Aspen Prize is supported by the Joyce Foundation, and the Siemens Foundation.