San Antonio College A Finalist For The $1 Million Aspen Prize To Be Announced May 18

May 17, 2021

San Antonio College A Finalist For The $1 Million Aspen Prize To Be Announced May 18

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Alamo Colleges District-San Antonio College (SAC) is one of 10 finalists for the $1 Million 2021 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among community colleges, awarded by The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program.

Tuesday, May 18 at noon the winner will be announced at a live event in Washington, D.C. featuring First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. If SAC is awarded the top Aspen honor, it will be recognized as the top community college in the nation, as well as the first community college in Texas to earn such recognition and the first of the Alamo Colleges to do so. To view the event live on May 18 go to

Northwest Vista College and Palo Alto College were named to the Aspen Top 150 community colleges this year, along with SAC. Several of the Alamo Colleges District colleges have previously been named to the Aspen list of top community colleges. In 2019, four of the five Alamo Colleges were named to the Aspen Top 100. The same year, Palo Alto College was named in the top one percent of community colleges and a Rising Star by the Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program.

The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence recognizes outstanding institutions selected from more than 1,000 community colleges nationwide. To be number one out of 1,000 is truly a remarkable achievement. The Aspen Prize shares with the Alamo Colleges a singular focus on student success. It honors community colleges who have reached the highest level of achievement in six areas:

  • Teaching and learning
  • Certificate and degree completion
  • Transfer and bachelor’s degree attainment
  • Workforce success
  • Equitable outcomes for students of color and from economically disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Leadership and culture

Not surprisingly, these six areas align closely with the Alamo Colleges District’s strategic goals and evidence of success, as measured by its key performance indicators.

The process of determining finalists and a prize winner includes qualitative and quantitative data analysis and engages more than 30 experts in the field. The finalists all effectively identify, develop, and scale strategies to propel all students to not just complete college but also succeed after graduation. The Aspen Institute worked with a team of national experts to complete a rigorous review process to determine the eventual winner of the prize. This encompasses a comprehensive examination of outcomes data as well as multi-day virtual site visits to each of the 10 finalist institutions. In early 2021, a distinguished jury convened to select the prize winner, finalists with distinction, and a rising star and allocate a $1 million award among them. The Aspen Prize is generously funded by Ascendium Education Group, Joyce Foundation, and Siemens Foundation.

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes, especially for the growing population of low-income students and students of color on American campuses. For more information, visit  and follow CEP on LinkedIn ( and Twitter (@AspenHigherEd). The Aspen Prize hashtag is #AspenPrize.

The Aspen Institute is a community-serving organization with global reach whose vision is a free, just, and equitable society. For 70 years, the Institute has driven change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the world’s greatest challenges. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Institute has offices in Aspen, Colorado, and New York City, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit