MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) — Lake Land College in Mattoon has been named as one of the top 150 community colleges in the country by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program.

The top institutions are selected out of more than 1,000 community colleges, making them eligible for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Aspen measures six areas when choosing their top colleges: teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s attainment, workforce success, equitable access, and equitable outcomes for a diverse array of student demographics.

“I am so proud of our Lake Land College community for receiving this incredible honor from the Aspen Institute,” Lake Land College President Josh Bullock said. “As we progress in implementing our Growing the Laker Advantage Strategic Plan, it is remarkable to know that our commitment to student success has garnered national recognition. The fact that this is our college’s sixth consecutive nomination is a testament to the collective dedication of our faculty, staff and trustees in upholding a student-first culture throughout our campus.”

This marks the sixth time Lake Land College has made the top 150.

“The Aspen Prize is rooted first and foremost in an assessment of whether colleges are walking the walk,” said Josh Wyner, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “As community colleges face enrollment variations, enroll students with pandemic-related learning loss, and graduate students into a rapidly changing labor market, it is easy to lose track of what matters most.  The best community colleges are continuing to focus on advancing the core mission: making sure as many students as possible graduate with credentials that lead to fulfilling careers and reflect the development of diverse talent that communities, states, and our nation need.”

The Aspen Prize aims to celebrate colleges achieving post-graduate success for students. It also serves as a way to research effective strategies for student advancement.

“These 150 colleges have achieved high and improving levels of student success for all students, including those who are often failed by our institutions,” Wyner said. “We’re excited to learn over the coming months how they achieved that success so we can share the most impressive practices with others in the field.”

A full list of the top 150 can be found here. To learn more about Lake Land College, visit