Texas Community Colleges

WTC Named one of USA's Top 150 Community Colleges by the Aspen Institute

SNYDER— Western Texas College has been named one of the nation’s top 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the 2017 Aspen Prize. Highlighting the critical importance of improving student success in America’s community colleges, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program provides $1 million dollars in prize funds, as well as Siemens Technical Scholars Program student scholarships.
“We are thrilled to be nominated again as we were in 2015,” stated college president Dr. Barbara Beebe.
The Prize, awarded every two years, is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges and recognizes institutions for exceptional student outcomes in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and access and success for minority and low-income students. 
Nearly half of America’s college students attend community college, with more than seven 
million students (youth and adult learners) working towards certificates and degrees in these institutions across the country.  
“Community colleges have tremendous power to change lives, and their success will increasingly define our nation’s economic strength and the potential for social mobility in our country,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. 
“This competition is designed to spotlight the excellent work being done in the most effective community colleges, those that best help students obtain meaningful, high-quality education and training for competitive-wage jobs after college. We hope it will raise the bar and provide a roadmap to better student outcomes for community colleges nationwide.”
A full list of the selected colleges and details on the selection process are available at www.aspenprize.org.
Scholarship Opportunities
For the first time, the 150 Prize-eligible institutions are also invited to nominate exceptional students enrolled in their best middle-skill STEM programs for scholarships. Up to 50 Siemens Technical Scholars will be selected from programs that provide outstanding preparation for high-demand jobs in manufacturing, energy, health care, and information technology. A partnership between the Siemens Foundation and the Aspen Institute, the Siemens Technical Scholars Program intends to help our nation’s community colleges and their business partners bridge the gap between projected shortages of skilled workers and the millions of high-demand jobs in these STEM industries. Scholarship winners and the programs that deliver rigorous training enabling their success will be announced in fall 2016. For more information and to view video profiles of 2015 Siemens Technical Scholars, go to http://as.pn/stscholars.
Western Texas College has been invited to submit an application to the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence containing detailed data on degree and certificate completion (including progress and transfer rates), labor market outcomes (employment and earnings), and student learning outcomes. 
Ten finalists will be named in fall 2016. The Aspen Institute will conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data. A distinguished Prize Jury will select a grand prize winner and a few finalists with distinction in early 2017.