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MTI named one of nation's top community colleges

The Washington, D.C.-based Aspen Institute has named Mitchell Technical Institute and Watertown's Lake Area Technical Institute to its list of the nation's top 120 community colleges.

The Washington, D.C.-based Aspen Institute has named Mitchell Technical Institute and Watertown's Lake Area Technical Institute to its list of the nation's top 120 community colleges.

That designation makes those, as well as other colleges on the list, eligible for the $1 million Aspen Prize, which will be given to the community college that best sets high standards for learning, encourages college completion without delay and serves as the best training ground for jobs that pay competitive wages.

The colleges are now eligible to submit applications containing detailed data on these criteria. They must demonstrate that they deliver exceptional student results, use data to drive decisions and use that information to continually improve over time.

The announcement was a welcome and gratifying surprise, MTI President Greg Von Wald said.

"It's not something we applied for," Von Wald said, explaining that the Aspen Institute placed MTI in the top 10 percent after it gleaned school information from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), a group of interrelated surveys conducted annually by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

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IPEDS gathers information from every college, university and technical and vocational institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs.

MTI Director of Marketing Julie Brookbank said assembling the required information for the prize jury will be a special project. She believes MTI's strong and growing enrollment and rapid campus expansion are all making a name for the school.

"Being considered for this prize speaks to the quality of the education we provide here," she said.

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