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WKCTC Awarded $100K as 'Finalist-with-Distinction' for Aspen Prize


For the second time in school history, West Kentucky Community and Technical College has been named by the Aspen Institute as one of the top three community colleges in the country.

The “finalist-with-distinction” placing comes with a $100,000 prize to support the school’s programs. Kate Lochte speaks with WKCTC President Dr. Barbara Veazey about the award on Sounds Good.

Since the Aspen Prize's inception in 2011, WKCTC has made the list of top 10 finalists every year. WKCTC president Dr. Barbara Veazey said she thought this might be the year the school received the grand prize.

“I did hope for it a great deal, but when you are one of three out of 1,200 community colleges, you just have to say that’s great," Veazey said. "It’s absolutely wonderful and a wonderful reflection on the college community.”

The $800,000 grand prize was awarded to Gainesville, Florida’s Santa Fe College.

The Aspen Institute awards the prizes based on four criteria: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings; and high levels of success and access for minority and low-income students.

Veazey said student equity is one of the school’s strongest attributes.

“Equity meaning that every student that walks through your doors has the support to be successful," Veazey said. "Not treating every student equally, but  realizing that a student has maybe special needs.”

Veazey said school officials want to better WKCTC’s 48 percent graduation rate before the prize is awarded again. That’s compared to a 40 percent national average.

John Null is the host and creator of Left of the Dial. From 2013-2016, he also served as a reporter in the WKMS newsroom.
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