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Two KCTCS Colleges Named Among Ten National Finalists for 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence

Sep 06, 2012 - | 09:42 AM -

Kentucky Is One of Only Two States with Multiple Finalists

Versailles, Ky. (September 5 , 2012) – Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College (SKCTC) and West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC) have both been named as finalists for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance in America’s community colleges.  Only 10 finalists are chosen nationwide, and Kentucky is one of only two states to have more than one college recognized as an Aspen Top Ten Finalist.

“This is an incredible honor to have two of our colleges chosen as finalists for the Aspen Prize,” said KCTCS President Michael B. McCall.  “I congratulate SKCTC and WKCTC Presidents Dr. Bruce Ayers and Dr. Barbara Veazey on this outstanding recognition.  We know that KCTCS is providing excellent educational opportunities for students across the Commonwealth and this designation from the Aspen Institute reaffirms both the fine work of our faculty and staff and our students’ achievements.”

SKCTC and WKCTC will now continue into the last stage of the competition for a $1 million prize fund that will be awarded to the winner and up to four finalists.  Last year, WKCTC was chosen as one of the top five finalists and was awarded $100,000 from the Aspen Prize fund.

Colleges named as finalists are selected from an original pool of more than 1,000 community colleges.  In April five KCTCS colleges were named among the nation’s 120 best community colleges and recognized as the top 10 percent in the country.  The colleges include: Hazard Community and Technical College, Madisonville Community College, Somerset Community College, Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College and West Kentucky Community and Technical College.

“To have a total of five of our colleges recognized in this process is a true indication KCTCS is on the right path to become the nation’s premier community and technical college system,” said President McCall.

Following the announcement, Josh Wyner, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program, highlighted the achievements of the Kentucky finalists saying, “Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College demonstrates that even community colleges facing tremendous barriers to student success can overcome them and excel.  The long-standing economic and social challenges of Appalachia are well-known. Through well-constructed support services and strong developmental education programs, SKCTC is helping students earn degrees and certificates that lead to living wage jobs.”

Wyner also recognized WKCTC as a repeat finalist and added, “WKCTC has demonstrated that it is a top community college for a second consecutive year.  Its leadership is driven to assess both community and student needs. By identifying barriers to student success and removing them, WKCTC is able to deliver custom-trained graduates who fit the bill for available jobs.”

The Aspen Prize recognizes the most outstanding institutions for achievements in four areas: student learning outcomes, degree and college completion, labor market success in students securing jobs after college, and minority and low-income student success.

The 2013 Aspen Top Ten Finalists are:

Brazosport College, Lake Jackson, TX
Broward College, Fort Lauderdale, FL
College of the Ouachitas, Malvern, AR
Kingsborough Community College - CUNY, Brooklyn, NY
Lake Area Technical Institute, Watertown, SD*
Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara, CA*
Santa Fe College, Gainesville, FL
Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, Cumberland, KY
Walla Walla Community College, Walla Walla, WA*
West Kentucky Community and Technical College, Paducah, KY*

*Four of the colleges on the list earned this distinction for a second straight year (indicated by an asterisk)

The Aspen Institute will conduct site visits to each of the 10 finalist institutions this fall and will select a grand prize winner and up to four finalists-with-distinction to be announced in March 2013.

To learn more about the Aspen Prize visit