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Aspen Institute honors

Yakima Valley College selected as top 150 community college

The Aspen Institute recently named Yakima Valley College one of 150 institutions eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. Colleges selected for this honor stand out among more than 1,000 community colleges nationwide as having high and improving levels of student success as well as equitable outcomes for Black and Hispanic students and those from lower-income backgrounds.

“We’re grateful for the Aspen Institute’s recognition of Yakima Valley College’s work helping students from diverse backgrounds achieve academic and career success,” said Vice President for Instruction and Student Services Jennifer Ernst. “In spite of the pandemic, the staff and faculty at YVC have worked tirelessly to provide equitable access to economic mobility and prosperity. Those efforts are essential to the education we offer, and I am delighted to see that work celebrated.”

The 150 eligible colleges, which also include Columbia Basin College and Wenatchee Valley College, have been invited to submit data and narratives as the next steps in an intensive data and practice review process, culminating in the announcement of the prize winner in spring 2023.

The Aspen Prize spotlights exemplary community colleges in order to elevate the sector, drive attention to colleges doing the best work, and discover and share highly effective student success and equity strategies. Since 2010, Aspen has chosen to focus intensively on community colleges because they are — as First Lady Dr. Jill Biden stated at the 2021 Aspen Prize ceremony — “a powerful engine of prosperity.”