The Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program has named Salina Area Technical College one of the top 150 community colleges across the nation, and eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

The 150 community colleges were selected from a pool of nearly 1,000 two-year colleges nationwide, using publicly available data on student outcomes, including completion rates, employment rates and earnings.

According to the Aspen Institute, data show that over the past two years, student retention, graduation rates and degree completion have improved among the top tier of Aspen Prize-eligible colleges.

“Community colleges play a vital role in developing talent and enabling social mobility across the country, and it’s critical for them to get better at what they do,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “We’re pleased to see evidence that these institutions are improving, that more are delivering on their promise. We’re also pleased to play a role in honoring outstanding community colleges and sharing what works to ensure great outcomes for students — through graduation and beyond.”

This is the sixth consecutive time the Aspen Institute has recognized Salina Tech as being among the top 15% of two-year colleges in the nation.