SALINA – For the fifth consecutive time, Salina Area Technical College has been named one of the top 150 two-year colleges in the United States by the Aspen Institute, and is now eligible to compete with those 149 other colleges for the $1 million 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.
“This recognition is the result of years of work by numerous faculty and staff at Salina Tech,” said President Greg Nichols. “We have a great group of folks who know how to instruct and support our students, and help them be successful, and it shows.”
Awarded every two years since 2011, the Aspen Prize recognizes institutions with outstanding achievements in four areas: learning; certificate and degree completion; employment and earnings; and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.
Some of the specific factors the Aspen Institute looks at are first-year retention rate, three-year graduation rate and credentials awarded per 100 students.
In each of these areas, Salina Tech was far above the average for the group of 150. Salina Tech had a first-year retention rate of 78.1 percent, compared to an average of 52.7 percent; a three-year graduation rate of 68.2 percent, compared to an average of 39.6 percent; and awarded 46.6 credentials per 100 students, compared to an average of 37.4.
According to the Aspen Institute, the 150 community colleges named as eligible to compete for the 2019 Prize were selected from a pool of nearly 1,000 public two-year colleges nationwide using publicly available data on student outcomes.
The top ten finalists for the 2019 Aspen Prize will be named in May 2018. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional quantitative data, including employment and earnings data. A distinguished Prize Jury will select a grand prize winner, finalist(s) with distinction, and rising star(s) in spring 2019.