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Published on March 27th, 2014 | by editor


Wright College, KKC among Top 150 Community Colleges Nationwide Considered for Aspen Prize

Aspen Institute Prize logo

The Aspen Institute has announced that Wright College is a contender for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Wright shares this honor with Kennedy-King College (KKC); the two City Colleges are among 150 schools from 37 states being considered for the prize.

Wright and KKC were selected from more than 1,000 community colleges nationwide for their demonstrated commitment to student success. Three areas were used to determine success: rate of student retention, graduation and transfer to four-year institutions; improvements over a five-year time span in outcomes and performance metrics; and equity in outcomes for students of all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. Wright College has been federally designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).

Both colleges have made significant improvements since the launch of City Colleges’ Reinvention initiative, a comprehensive reform effort to revamp all aspects of City Colleges to ensure students’ success. Chancellor Cheryl Hyman launched the initiative soon after arriving in 2010. Since the launch of Reinvention at Wright College:

  • The official graduation rate has risen 75 percent, increasing from 8 percent to 14 percent in Fiscal Year 2013.
  • The college’s total number of completers increased by 74 percent, reaching 1,600 in FY2013.

Through the College to Careers program, launched by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chancellor Hyman in December 2011, City Colleges works with industry and four-year college partners to better align its classes with industry demand to ensure Chicagoans are prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Wright College serves as City Colleges’ hub for information technology; Kennedy-King is the culinary/hospitality hub.

Community colleges serve seven million degree-seeking students across the nation. The Aspen Institute and the foundations funding the $1 million prize—Joyce Foundation, Lumina Foundation, Kellogg Foundation and Bank of America—seek to further drive social mobility and economic growth, while identifying exceptional practices that can be emulated to achieve successful outcomes in community colleges nationally.

The top 10 finalists will be announced in fall 2014, and the winner of the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence will be announced in early 2015.

The complete City Colleges news release about this announcement can be viewed here.


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