Awards & Recognition

Again, SPSCC Named Top 10 Finalist for Esteemed Aspen Prize

By SPSCC & Aspen Institute Staff

June 11, 2024

Today, the Aspen Institute named South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) as a finalist for the 2025 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The $1 million award is the nation's signature recognition of strong performance among community 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.

“We are truly honored to be recognized by the Aspen Institute because it means three important things: 1) SPSCC is in the top 1% of community colleges in the country; 2) The ways we support our students’ success has become a model for other colleges; and 3) Students who choose to attend SPSCC are getting one of the best college experiences in the entire United States,” said Dr. Timothy Stokes, President of SPSCC.

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

“We’re so proud to say that our students are learning and succeeding at a level that other colleges can only dream of,” added Dr. Stokes. “As we celebrate earning this distinction for the second consecutive time, we will keep working, because equitable access and success at SPSCC means that 100% of students are succeeding 100% of the time.”

The winner will be announced in the spring of 2025. To learn more about the next steps of the selection process, visit

Outside of SPSCC's Building 22 with a badge that reads "Aspen Prize Finalist 2025"
SPSCC is honored to be recognized as a finalist by the Aspen Institute.


Recognized as a top 10 best community college in the U.S. by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program in 2025 and 2023, SPSCC serves around 5,000 students each year. The college serves people from all backgrounds and meets them where they are, connecting them to Pathways and classes to reach their goals. Whether that’s landing a new job, learning a new skill, earning a degree, or transferring to a university, SPSCC is dedicated to helping students on their journey toward an amplified future.

SPSCC's mission is to support student success in postsecondary academic transfer and workforce education that responds to the needs of the South Puget Sound region. SPSCC supports student success and builds prosperity by collaborating with the community and our partners to offer innovative, accessible, and affordable learning experiences.

SPSCC has previously been selected by the Aspen Institute as:

  • 2023 Top 10 Finalist
  • 2021 Top 150
  • 2019 Top 150
  • 2017 Top 150

About the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Prize is generously funded by Ascendium, the Joyce Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, and the Kresge Foundation. 

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program supports colleges and universities in their quest to achieve a higher standard of excellence, delivering credentials that unlock life-changing careers and strengthen our economy, society, and democracy. For more information, visit the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program website.

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization whose purpose is to ignite human potential to build understanding and create new possibilities for a better world. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve society’s greatest challenges. It is headquartered in Washington, DC and has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, as well as an international network of partners. For more information, visit