Northeast Iowa Community College has received a nomination as one of the nation's top 120 community colleges by the Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program for the second consecutive year.
NICC is now qualified to compete for a share of the $1 million 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence award that will be announced early next year in Washington, D.C.. NICC earned a place as a finalist last year as one of the top ten community colleges in the nation.
The Aspen Institute's nomination of NICC results from the study of federal data submitted by all of the nation's nearly 1,200 community colleges. This month, Aspen invited the top ten percent of community colleges to compete for the grand prize. NICC will complete an application and submit additional data to qualify as one of the top ten U.S. community colleges. The Aspen Institute will announce this list of finalists in the fall, announcing the winner early next year.
In September 2011, the Aspen Institute named NICC to its list of finalists for meeting and exceeding a range of criteria, according to the institute. Not only is NICC's graduation rate nearly 10 percent higher than the national average for community colleges, but it ensures that the degrees students earn have value after they graduate. The Aspen Institute also praised NICC for its effective use of workforce data to determine where the labor market is headed, and for adapting academic programs so that students are more likely to find employment. NICC also continually reviews all academic programs for their graduates' job placement rates to ensure that programs are viable, and after students graduate, the college stays in touch to learn more about how it has prepared students for their careers and what the college might do better.