January 28, 2016

Hinds CC among top national community colleges in Aspen competition

Hinds Community College is among the nation’s top 150 community colleges that are eligible to compete for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence and $1 million in prize…
BY: Cathy Hayden


Hinds Community College is among the nation’s top 150 community colleges that are eligible to compete for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence and $1 million in prize funds.

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program highlights the critical importance of improving student success in America’s community colleges.

Ten finalists will be named in fall 2016. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data, including employment and earnings data from states and transfer data from the National Student Clearinghouse. A distinguished Prize Jury will select a grand prize winner and finalists with distinction in early 2017.

“We are pleased to be named among the community colleges nationwide selected to compete for the prestigious Aspen Prize,” said Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse. “It is an honor just to be nominated and is a proud reflection of the outstanding Hinds Community College faculty and staff who are committed to helping our students be successful.”

It’s also significant that the Mississippi’s community college system has eight institutions named among the top 150, Muse said.

Other Mississippi nominees included Copiah-Lincoln, Mississippi Gulf Coast, Itawamba, Meridian, Northeast and Holmes. Earlier this year, the state’s community college system had been ranked No. 1 in the nation by WalletHub.Com for cost and financing, education and career outcomes, classroom experience, and education and career outcomes.

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.

“There are exceptional community colleges across our country providing students with a high-quality, affordable education that leads to good careers and strong economic opportunity,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “Through this competition, we’re working to inspire community colleges and help them understand how to ensure that more students succeed.”

Nearly half of America’s college students attend community college, with more than seven million students—youth and adult learners—working toward certificates and degrees in these institutions across the country. In Mississippi, more than 60 percent of new college freshmen start a community college.

The top 150 community colleges represent the diversity and richness of the community college sector. They are located in 35 states in urban, rural and suburban areas, serving as few as 300 students and as many as 60,000 students.

Hinds Community College is the state’s largest two-year institution, serving nearly 30,000 Mississippians in credit and non-credit programs.

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.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.

As Mississippi’s largest community college, Hinds Community College is a comprehensive institution offering quality, affordable educational opportunities with more than 170 academic, career and technical programs. With six locations in central Mississippi, Hinds enrolled nearly 12,000 credit students in fall 2015. To learn more, visit www.hindscc.edu or call 1.800.HindsCC.