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Aspen Institute Names Hinds to Top 150 National Community Colleges

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Hinds Com-munity College is among the nation’s top 150 community colleges that are eligible to compete for the 2025 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence and $1 million in prize funds.

The institutions selected for this honor stand out among more than 1,000 community colleges nationwide as having high and improving levels of student success as well as equitable outcomes for Black and Hispanic students and those from lower-income backgrounds, The Aspen Institute said in a news release.

“We are pleased that the work of Hinds Community College’s dedicated employees has been validated with the recognition that Hinds is in the top 150 community colleges,” said Hinds President Dr. Stephen Vacik. “Now we roll up our sleeves and show the good work we’re doing to serve our community and help our students find their purpose, passion and profession.”

The Aspen Prize spotlights exemplary community colleges in order to drive attention to colleges achieving post-graduate success for all students and is a central way Aspen researches highly effective student success strategies that are shared with the field.

“These 150 colleges have achieved high and improving levels of student success for all students, including those who are often failed by our institutions,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “We’re excited to learn over the coming months how they achieved that success so we can share the most impressive practices with others in the field.”

The 150 eligible colleges have been invited to submit student success data and narratives about strategies to achieve better and more equitable student outcomes as the next step in an intensive review process that culminates in the naming of the Aspen Prize winner in spring 2025.

The top 25 semifinalists will be announced in April 2024. They are selected based on assessments of extensive data and strategy documents by the Prize selection panel, a group of 16 experts in community colleges, higher education and workforce training, and interviews with institutional leadership teams.

The 2025 Aspen Prize cycle began in October 2023 when the Aspen Institute invited 150 community colleges to apply, based on data showing strong and improving student outcomes in key areas such as retention, completion, transfer and equity. Other Mississippi community colleges named to the top 150 are Copiah-Lincoln, Holmes, Itawamba, Mississippi Gulf Coast, Northeast Mississippi, Northwest Mississippi and Pearl River.

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