MASON CITY – North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) has received four national rankings in the past two years. Most recently, the College was selected as one of 150 community colleges nationwide to be eligible to apply for the third $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.
The Prize is awarded every two years. The purpose of the Aspen Prize is to recognize community colleges with outstanding academic and workforce outcomes in both absolute performance and improvements over time. “This is the second time NIACC has been invited to apply for this prestigious award and we are pleased to be recognized as one of the top-performing community colleges in the nation,” said NIACC President Dr. Steve Schulz. “I am very proud of the work of our faculty, staff and our students.”
NIACC will apply for the prize, which is due in early March.
The Aspen Top 150 community colleges are identified through an assessment of institutional performance, improvement and equity on student retention and completion measures. To ensure full representation of the range and diversity of the sector, adjustments were applied with respect to mission, size, and minority student representation. As you can see from the list of community colleges at www.AspenCCPrize.org, the eligible pool reflects the diversity and richness of community colleges in the United States.
The College has received these additional national rankings in the past two years.
- 20th in the Nation – A report was published October 28 by Community College Week, an independent source of in-depth information for and about two-year colleges. The ranking was compiled by BestSchools.org and places NIACC 20th in the nation. According to the BestSchools.org website, their community college list is based on graduation and persistence rates, learning outcomes, employment rates, equity and diversity and cost-to-value ratios. Community College Week posted the list as part of their 25th anniversary observance.
- 14th in the Nation – In June 2012, CNNMoney.com posted a report placing NIACC at number 14 in the nation for student success. That ranking was based on the percentage of students that graduated within three years or transferring to four-year colleges. NIACC was rated at a 72% success rate, meaning that 72% of all students who attend NIACC either complete or have a successful transfer to a four-year institution within three years.
- Top 10% in the Nation – June 2012, The Aspen Institute placed NIACC in the top 10 percent of all community colleges in the nation, using a quantitative formula that assesses performance and improvement in four areas: graduation rates, degrees awarded, student retention rates and equity in student outcomes.
“It’s very difficult for any organization to fairly rank community colleges because of their widely varying missions, enrollments and demographics,” Schulz said. “Each ranking uses different criteria to create these lists. However, what consumers can take away from this is that several organizations have ranked NIACC as one of the best community colleges in the nation. This speaks to the quality of the institution and the success of our students.”
NIACC offers a variety of programming for students of all ages and needs. “With a staff of approximately 300, the College currently offers nearly 40 one- and two-year career programs, the first two years toward a bachelor’s degree in most fields and an array of continuing education opportunities for professional and personal growth,” Schulz said. “I believe most people are impressed when they visit campus and see all that we have to offer.”