South Puget Sound Community College nominated as finalist for $1 million Aspen Prize anew 

Ten nationwide finalists vie for $1 million biennial award 


The Aspen Institute named South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) again as a finalist for the 2025 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. 

The college also reached the biennial award finals for excellence in student outcomes last year and was included in the Top 150 in 2021, 2019 and 2017. 

The $1 million award recognizes the notable performance of community colleges nationwide. Last month, it was announced that SPSCC is a semifinalist for the award with 19 other community colleges. 

The institutions in the list of finalists stood out among more than 1,000 community colleges nationwide having high and rising levels of student success, and fair outcomes for students of color, and those from lower-income backgrounds. 

“We are truly honored to be recognized by the Aspen Institute because it means three important things: 1) SPSCC is in the top 1% of community colleges in the country; 2) The ways we support our students’ success has become a model for other colleges; and 3) Students who choose to attend SPSCC are getting one of the best college experiences in the entire United States,” said SPSCC President Dr. Timothy Stokes in the college’s news page. 

From 20 semifinalists last May, 11 finalists were announced on June 11. Besides SPSCC, the others are: 

  • Georgia Highlands College, Georgia 
  • Moorpark College, California 
  • Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Wisconsin 
  • Northwest Vista College, Texas 
  • San Jacinto College, Texas
  • Seminole State College of Florida, Florida 
  • Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, Wisconsin 
  • WIUCNJ Union College of Union County, New Jersey 
  • Wallace State Community College-Hanceville, Alabama 

“Working-class Americans are experiencing an economy that seems to be stacked against them, while employers are struggling to find well-prepared workers in fields such as teaching, nursing, software development, welding, and advanced manufacturing,” Executive Director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program Josh Wyner said in the press announcement 

“The ten Aspen Prize finalists demonstrate how community colleges serving urban and rural communities throughout the country can prepare many more graduates for fulfilling lives and careers in their communities. They show that excellence can be reached in any and every context,” added Wyner. 

The Aspen Institute said they plan to announce the winner in the spring of 2025. 


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