AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Amarillo College announced it was recognized in a virtual award ceremony, as one of the top 5 community colleges nationally and was awarded Aspen’s Rising Star Award and $100,000.

AC said it was lauded during the ceremony as on of higher education’s true Rising Stars while being included among the Top 5 nationwide.

The Aspen Prize assesses performance in six areas: teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s attainment, workforce success, equity in access and success for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds, and leadership and institutional culture.

The Rising Star award recognizes colleges with rapidly improving student outcomes.

“To receive this level of recognition in only our first year as an Aspen finalist is beyond gratifying; for it validates the decisive leadership of our Regents and the Herculean efforts of our faculty and staff, each of whom have ceaselessly striven to love our students to success,” AC President Russell Lowery-Hart said.