Posted: May 4, 2012

Contact: Doug Anderson, doug.anderson@MinnState.edu, 651-201-1426

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Seven Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) are among 120 community colleges nationwide named as finalists for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

They are: Alexandria Technical and Community College, Central Lakes College, Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Northland Community and Technical College, Northeast Higher Education District's Rainy River Community College and Ridgewater College.

The finalists were named after a comprehensive review of publicly available data that demonstrated strong outcomes in three areas of student success: persistence, completion and transfer; consistent improvement in outcomes over time; and equity in outcomes for students of all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. The 120 colleges now can compete for the $1 million prize that will be awarded in March 2013.

"This is a great honor for these colleges, and I am confident that they will be strong competitors for the prize," said MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone. "The success of these colleges reflects our commitment to ensure access to an extraordinary education for all Minnesotans. Our faculty and staff provide the best education available in Minnesota, preparing graduates to lead in every sector of Minnesota's economy."

The first Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence was awarded in December 2011 by the Aspen Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue.