MASON CITY – North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) is honored to be named a semifinalist for the 2023 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The $1 million Aspen Prize is the nation’s signature recognition of community colleges that are achieving high, improving, and equitable outcomes for students. NIACC is one of only twenty-five colleges in the country that is eligible for the $1 Million in prize funds that will be awarded next year.
Awarded every two years, the Aspen Prize honors colleges with outstanding performance in five critical areas: teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s attainment, workforce success, and equitable outcomes for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds.
“We are extremely honored to be recognized by the prestigious Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. It is our continued commitment to student success that produces student outcomes worthy of being recognized as one of the top 25 Community Colleges in the nation,” said NIACC President Dr. Steven Schulz. “I am extremely proud of the faculty, staff and administration at NIACC for their ongoing commitment to quality and student success.”
The Prize selection process began last October, 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. Applications went to a diverse selection committee of 16 higher education experts who reviewed extensive data and application narratives. Next, the committee will review interviews with leadership teams and narrow this selection of 25 semifinalists to 10 finalists, which will be announced in early June 2022.
“We are thrilled to see America’s community colleges making meaningful and measurable progress, educating people from all backgrounds and preparing them for good jobs,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “These twenty-five colleges represent our dreams for a better country and a reinvigorated democracy.”
North Iowa Area Community College, founded in 1918, is a nationally recognized, two-year college located in central North Iowa. With approximately 3,000 career and transfer students, the College has been recognized by the Aspen Institute as a leading community college in the nation. NIACC welcomes students from across Iowa, Minnesota, the nation, and the world. The College has served as a leader in student-centered learning, community engagement, and collaborative leadership for more than 100 years.