Virginia Western Community College has been selected as one of only 150 community colleges nationally eligible to apply for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The Aspen Prize recognizes one outstanding community college for its academic and workforce outcomes every two years. The 2015 Aspen Prize winner will be awarded $1 million.

“It is tremendous honor to be deemed eligible to compete for the Aspen Prize,” said Dr. Robert H. Sandel, President of Virginia Western. “To be recognized among the top community colleges in the nation validates our efforts to help students achieve their academic and career goals at Virginia Western.”

The Aspen Prize recognizes institutions for exceptional student outcomes in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.

The Aspen Prize was first awarded in 2011 to Valencia College (Fla.). Santa Barbara City College (Calif.) and Walla Walla Community College (Wa.) were co-winners in 2013. Joining Virginia Western in the field of 150 eligible to apply for 2015 are two other Virginia colleges: Dabney S. Lancaster Community College and New River Community College.

The 150 selected institutions may submit applications describing what they have done to improve student success on their campus. The field will then be narrowed to 10 finalists in the fall. The winner will be announced in early 2015.

More information on the Aspen Prize can be found at