San Jacinto College again eligible for $1 million Aspen Prize

10.11.2017 | By Amanda Fenwick

PASADENA, Texas — San Jacinto College was named today as one of the top 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance in America’s community colleges. San Jacinto College was selected from a pool of more than 1,100 public two-year colleges nationwide to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize.

Awarded every two years since 2011, the Aspen Prize recognizes institutions with outstanding achievements in four areas: learning; certificate and degree completion; employment and earnings; and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students. Earlier this year, San Jacinto College was named a 2017 Aspen Institute Rising Star recipient.

“It is always a tremendous honor to be recognized by the Aspen Institute for the work that is being done here at San Jacinto College,” said Dr. Brenda Hellyer, San Jacinto College Chancellor. “We were humbled to have earned the Rising Star award which placed us as one of the top five colleges earlier this year, but we know that our work is never done. Our faculty and staff continue to find new and innovative ways to keep our students engaged and on a path to complete their certificate or associate degree. At the end of the day, we know our work is about changing lives and that happens with our students completing what they start. We want them to have the skills and knowledge they need to move on to a four-year university or enter the workforce in a rewarding career.”

Nearly half of America’s college students attend community colleges, with more than seven million students – youth and adult learners – working toward certificates and degrees in these institutions across the country.

San Jacinto College will move forward to the next round of the competition for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence by submitting an application to be reviewed through a rigorous evaluation for a spot on the top 10 Aspen Prize finalists list. The top 10 finalists will be named in May 2018. The Aspen Institute will then conduct site visits to each of the finalists and collect additional qualitative data. A distinguished Prize jury will select a grand prize winner, finalist(s) with distinction, and rising star(s) in Spring 2019.

A full list of the selected colleges and details on the selection process are available on the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program website.


About the Aspen College Excellence Program
The Aspen College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes. Through the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the Siemens Technical Scholars Program, and other initiatives, the College Excellence Program works to improve colleges’ understanding and capacity to teach and graduate students, especially the growing population of low-income and minority students on American campuses. For more information, visit


About the Aspen Institute
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit


About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. As a fiscally sound institution, the College currently holds bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively. San Jacinto College is a 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Rising Star Award recipient and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. Approximately 45,000 credit and non-credit students each semester benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success. The College offers eight areas of study that prepare a diverse body of students to transfer to four-year colleges or universities or enter the workforce with the skills needed to support the growing industries along the Texas Gulf Coast. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

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