Aspen Prize

Georgia Highlands College is one of 20 semifinalists for the 2025 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence

Georgia Highlands College (GHC) has been named an Aspen Prize Semifinalist by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. GHC is one of 20 colleges across the country eligible to compete for a $1 million prize recognizing excellence in equitable outcomes for students in and after college. 

GHC was the only institution in the University System of Georgia selected to be eligible to compete for the prize. 

The award is considered one of the nation’s signature recognitions of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. The colleges 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. 

The Aspen Prize spotlights exemplary community colleges in order to elevate the sector, drive attention to colleges doing the best work, and discover and share highly effective student success and equity strategies. 

Next steps of the process: 

  • The 18-member Aspen Prize selection committee will review all application materials from the 20 semifinalists and meet at the end of May to select 10 finalists. 
  • The 10 finalists will be announced in early June.  
  • Teams of experts will conduct multi-day site visits to the 10 finalist colleges in the fall, while Aspen also collects additional data. 
  • A distinguished, independent Aspen Prize jury will review the data and qualitative summaries from the site visits and meet in early 2025 to select the Aspen Prize winner and colleges for further recognition.  
  • An awards ceremony for the finalist colleges will be held in Washington, DC, on April 17, 2025, where the winner will be announced.   

The Aspen Prize honors colleges with outstanding achievement in six critical areas: teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s attainment, workforce success, access to the college and its offerings, and equitable outcomes for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds. 

By focusing on student success and lifting up models that work, the Aspen Prize aims to celebrate excellence among our nation’s best community colleges, advance a holistic definition of student success, and stimulate replication of highly effective practices and leadership. 

For a full list of the top 150 eligible institutions and to read more on the selection process, visit