The Aspen Institute Names Cuesta College as a Top 150 U.S. Community College

Today, the Aspen Institute named Cuesta College as one of the 150 institutions eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among two-year colleges. The institutions selected for this honor stand out among more than 1,000 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 the heart of Cuesta College’s mission is the relentless pursuit of brighter futures and equitable outcomes for each student that we serve,” said Cuesta College Superintendent / President Dr. Jill Stearns. “Our inclusion among the Aspen Prize Top 150 Community Colleges for 2025 stands as a testament to the extraordinary commitment of our faculty and classified professionals. This is an amazing recognition of Cuesta’s strong and improving student success and graduation rates.”

The Aspen Prize spotlights exemplary community colleges in order to drive attention to colleges achieving post-graduate success for all students, and is a central way Aspen researches highly effective student success strategies that are shared with the field. The 150 eligible colleges have been invited to submit student success data and narratives about strategies to achieve better and more equitable student outcomes as the next step in an intensive review process that culminates in the naming of the Aspen Prize winner in spring 2025. The eligible colleges represent the diversity and depth of the community college sector. Located in urban, rural, and suburban areas across 30 states, these colleges serve as few as 169 students and as many as 49,619.  Continued…

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