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Nicolet College eligible for million dollar Aspen Prize

Nicolet Area Technical College

Nicolet College is being ranked among the top community colleges in the country by the Aspen Institute.

It recently learned it was eligible for the one-million-dollar Aspen Prize.

“The Aspen Prize for community college excellence is sort of the Oscars, if you will, in the education space,” said Nicolet College President Kate Ferrel.

Ferrel said she was bowled over when she learned the college was one of 150 colleges out the 1,000 nationwide recognized by the Aspen Institute.

“We were bowled over, but probably not entirely surprised because we see the amazing hard work that our faculty do every day to serve our students which got us into this award structure in the first place,” she said.

Every two years, the Aspen Institute combs through different statistics from community colleges.

It’s looking at things like equity, ensuring students complete programs in a reasonable amount of time, and graduated students that continue to earn more over time.

“It’s a pretty special honor and it just shows that we day in and day out at Nicolet College just really work to serve our students regardless of their demographics. This is pretty special,” said Ferrel.

Eight other technical colleges in Wisconsin were selected this year including Northcentral Technical College in Wausau.

Ferrell says that shows how the colleges are aligned in their work to serve underrepresented populations.

“As a Wisconsin Technical College System, we all agree that the more we can serve all populations, the more and the better we serve each and every one of our communities as well,” she said.

Becoming eligible for the Aspen Prize is just the first step.

The next round involves filling out an extensive application form to be evaluated by a panel of experts.

The prize winners aren’t announced until 2023.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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