The University of Arkansas Rich Mountain has been selected as one of the top 150 Community Colleges in the United States by the Aspen Institute. This selection recognizes UARM as being eligible for the 2025 Aspen Prize, which every two years awards a $1 million award called the “Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence” to the nation’s top community college. President Obama called it, “basically the Oscars for great community colleges.” There are over a thousand community colleges across America and the top 150 institutions, including UARM, are eligible to apply for the 2025 Aspen Prize.
The Aspen Prize honors community colleges with outstanding achievement in six defining areas: teaching and learning, certificated and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s attainment, workforce success, access, and equity for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds. Dr. Phillip Wilson, Chancellor at UARM, reflected upon the nomination for such a prestigious award, “Our nomination speaks to the effort that our faculty and staff have put forward to live out the mission and vision of our shared collective. Our mission at UA Rich Mountain has been to provide a transformative education to all learners, and to respect the worth and dignity of each person on our campus. I believe our nomination for the Aspen Prize demonstrates that we have done an outstanding job fulfilling that. This is a tremendous honor to be a part of such an elite group.”
The 2025 Aspen Prize cycle began in October 2023 when the Aspen Institute invited the top 150 community colleges to apply. The colleges selected to apply were based on data showing strong and improved student outcomes in areas such as retention, completion, transfer, and equity.
UA Rich Mountain’s mission is to provide transformative education to all learners.