San Jacinto College Named Among the top 25 Semifinalists for the Aspen Prize

Apr 29, 2022Jacquelynn Conger
San Jacinto College News

PASADENA, Texas — San Jacinto College is honored to be named among the top 25 institutions eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

This prize is the nation's signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America's community colleges. The colleges selected for this honor stand out among more than 1,100 community colleges nationwide as having high and improving levels of student success, as well as equitable outcomes for Black and Hispanic students and those from lower-income backgrounds.

"At San Jacinto College, we strive to be better for our students and our community everyday" said San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer. "Being recognized once again by the Aspen Institute is a great honor and shows that we continue to move in the right direction in filling workforce gaps and helping students on their educational paths. On behalf of our Board of Trustees and the entire San Jacinto College community, I thank the Aspen Institute for considering us for this prestigious award."

This is the first year that the Aspen Institute has narrowed the field from 150 to 25 semifinalists, and San Jacinto College is one of only two Texas community colleges to be among the 2023 Top 25 semifinalists.

"We are thrilled to see meaningful, measurable progress being made across the community college sector, and this extra step is designed to highlight the increased number of colleges doing excellent work from which others can learn," said Joshua Wyner, vice president of the Aspen Institute.

The Aspen Prize spotlights exemplary community colleges to elevate the sector, drive attention to colleges doing the best work, and discover and share highly effective student success and equity strategies. Student outcomes can vary greatly among community colleges, and improving those outcomes is essential to securing our nation's economic future, strengthening communities, and ensuring that diverse populations experience economic mobility and prosperity.

With these goals in mind, the Aspen Prize honors colleges with outstanding achievement in five critical areas: teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor's attainment, workforce success, and equity for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds.

The next steps in the process include:

  • Selection of the top 10 finalists by an expert panel of 15 experts in community colleges, higher education, and workforce training, to be announced in spring/summer 2022
  • Fall 2022 site visits to each of the 10 finalists, during which the Aspen Institute and partners will collect additional information, including employment and earnings data and insights about promising practices
  • A distinguished jury will meet and make award decisions in the first quarter of early 2023
  • Announcement of the Aspen Prize in late spring 2023

For a full list of the 25 semifinalists and to read more on the selection process, visit the Aspen Institute website.

The Aspen Prizeis generously funded by Ascendium and the Joyce Foundation.

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes, especially for the growing population of low-income students and students of color on American campuses. For more information, visit,, and follow@AspenHigherEd on Twitter. The Aspen Prize hashtag is #AspenPrize.

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, evolving industries, maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has served the people of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. San Jacinto College is among the top five community colleges in the nation as designated by the Aspen Institute for Community College Excellence, and was named an Achieving the Dream Leader College of Distinction in 2020. The College spans five campuses serving approximately 41,000 credit and non-credit students annually, and offers more than 200 degrees and certificates across eight major areas of study that put students on a path to transfer to four-year institutions or enter the workforce. San Jacinto College's impact on the region totals $1.3 billion in added income, which supports 13,044 jobs. The College is fiscally sound, holding bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor's and Moody's.

For more information about San Jacinto College call 281-998-6150, visit or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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