Aspen Institute recognizes 3 TCUs for graduation rates

Aug 15th, 2011 | By | Category: 23-1: Beyond Racism, Tribal College News

In April, the nonprofit Aspen Institute ranked the nation’s top 120 community colleges.

Among the community colleges recognized were three tribal colleges: Navajo Technical College (NTC, Crownpoint, NM), Fort Belknap College (FBC, Harlem, MT), and Chief Dull Knife College (CDKC, Lame Deer, MT).

To pick the winners, judges analyzed U.S. Department of Education data on the percentage of students who graduate with an associate’s degree or successfully transfer from their community colleges into four-year institutions. They also assessed the proportion of low-income and minority students who completed each program and if completion rates improved over time at the particular schools. The 120 winners, representing the top 10% of the country’s 1,200 community colleges, can now enter to win a $700,000 prize.

Community college enrollment surged in 2008 even as the percentage of young people in four-year colleges stayed flat. Some community colleges have had to turn students away as their shrinking budgets haven’t been able to keep up with record enrollment. California community colleges warn they may have to reject as many as 400,000 applicants this fall.

The point of the Aspen Institute competition is to identify colleges that are overcoming problems such as poor graduation rates so that their strategies can be exported to struggling schools with dismal graduation rates.

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