Northland Community & Technical College Named as Finalist for Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence

Northland Community and Technical College (NCTC) was one of six Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) among 150 community colleges nationwide named as finalists for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Highlighting the critical importance of improving student success in America’s community colleges, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program today named NCTC as one the nation’s 150 top community colleges, challenging it to compete for the $1 million fund for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

The six MnSCU community colleges are: Alexandria Technical and Community College, Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Cambridge and Coon Rapids, Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls, Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Granite Falls, Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls and East Grand Forks, and Ridgewater College in Willmar.

The finalists were named after a comprehensive review of publicly available data that demonstrated strong performance in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and access and success for minority and low-income students.

Nearly half of America’s college students attend community college, with more than seven million students—youth and adult learners—working toward certificates and degrees in these institutions across the country. The top 150 community colleges named today represent the diversity and richness of the community college sector. They are located in 35 states in urban, rural and suburban areas, serving as few as 300 students and as many as 60,000 students.
For the first time, the 150 Prize-eligible institutions are also invited to nominate exceptional students enrolled in their best middle-skill STEM programs for scholarships. Up to 50 Siemens Technical Scholars will be selected from programs that provide outstanding preparation for high-demand jobs in manufacturing, energy, health care, and information technology. Scholarship winners and the programs that deliver rigorous training enabling their success will be announced in fall 2016.

“There are exceptional community colleges across our country providing students with a high-quality, affordable education that leads to good careers and strong economic opportunity,” said Josh Wyner, of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, in a press release. “Through this competition, we’re working to inspire community colleges and help them understand how to ensure that more students succeed.”

The 150 community colleges announced today as eligible to compete for the 2017 Prize were selected from a national pool of over 1,000 public two-year colleges using publicly available data on student outcomes. Ten finalists will be named in fall 2016. A distinguished Prize Jury will select a grand prize winner and finalists with distinction in early 2017.

Northland Community and Technical College (NCTC) is a comprehensive college with campuses in Thief River Falls, MN, and East Grand Forks, MN. NCTC also has an aerospace site in Thief River Falls, MN, and a satellite site in Roseau, MN. NCTC offers certificates, diplomas, transfer courses, two-year degrees (A.A.S., A.S., A.A.) in more than 80 areas of study, workforce training and education programs. NCTC is a member of Minnesota State, the fourth-largest system of two-year colleges and four-year universities in the United States, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. NCTC is an affirmative action, equal opportunity educator and employer. For more information about Northland Community & Technical College, visit or call 1.800.959.6282.