Aspen Institute College Excellence Program

AWC Selected as Member of Aspen-AASCU Transfer Student Success Intensive Cohort

June 17, 2024

The one-year intensive involves monthly sessions to strengthen partnerships between community colleges and AASCU members, focusing on improving practices and policies for equitable transfer student success

Yuma, AZ (June 17, 2024) – Arizona Western College was selected by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program (Aspen) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) to join the latest cohort of the Aspen-AASCU Transfer Student Success Intensive.

AWC joins its partner Northern Arizona University and 18 other two- and four-year colleges engaged in the third Intensive cohort. Selected from an applicant pool of 97 institutions and three systems from 24 states, the three cohorts collectively represent a total enrollment of over 1.3 million undergraduate students from across the U.S.

The Intensive, funded by Ascendium Education Philanthropy, is a one-year initiative of monthly sessions designed to support partnerships between community colleges and AASCU members in advancing the practices and policies associated with enhanced equitable transfer student success. 

As AWC delves into this intensive year-long program, it eagerly anticipates the invaluable insights, personalized consultation, and collaborative learning experiences that lie ahead. By joining a vibrant community of practice, AWC aims to harness critical data and expertise to craft a forward-looking strategic transfer plan, ultimately enriching the educational journey for countless students.

“This selection to participate in the Aspen-AASCU Transfer Student Success Intensive is a testament to Arizona Western College's commitment to student empowerment and academic equity,” said Cristina Gonzales, Associate Dean of Advisement and Student Success and AWC Project Manager for Aspen Transfer Intensive Cohort. “We are honored to stand among esteemed institutions in this national initiative to drive meaningful change and ensure every student thrives in their educational journey.”

State   4-Year Institution/s 2-Year Partner(s)
AL Athens State University Calhoun Community College
CA California State University, Channel Islands Oxnard College
AZ Northern Arizona University Arizona Western College
VA James Madison University Blue Ridge Community College
TX Texas A&M University - Texarkana Texarkana College
TX University of Houston, Victoria Victoria College
WI University of Wisconsin - Parkside Gateway Technical College
WA Washington State University - Everett Everett Community College
IL Western Illinois University Spoon River College
MA Westfield State University Holyoke Community College

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Arizona Western College
Located in the sunny, southwest corner of the state, Arizona Western College supports Yuma and La Paz communities by offering over 170 degrees and certificates in a wide range of academic and career and technical programs as well as non-credit courses in professional development, customized training, and personal enrichment areas. With 12 different locations and a service area that spans 10,000 square miles, AWC is also exceptionally unique in that it hosts all three state universities on its main campus for face-to-face classes. These partnerships provide seamless transfer pathways to baccalaureate degrees and beyond in a variety of high-demand programs. AWC is committed to doubling the rate of baccalaureate degrees earned in Yuma and La Paz counties by 2035 and is dedicated to its mission of transforming lives through education and partnerships to create thriving communities.

The Aspen-AASCU Transfer Student Success Initiative is presented by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and generously funded by Ascendium.

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization whose purpose is to ignite human potential to build understanding and create new possibilities for a better world. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve society’s greatest challenges. The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program supports colleges and universities in their quest to achieve a higher standard of excellence, delivering credentials that unlock life-changing careers and strengthen our economy, society, and democracy. We know it takes visionary college leaders to lead scaled, sustainable reforms, and we make it our mission to equip them with the knowledge, skills, and research-backed tools to inspire change, shift practice, and advance the capacity of colleges to deliver excellent and equitable student outcomes.

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of 350 public colleges, universities, and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development. These are institutions Delivering America’s Promise. Visit us at

Mandy Heil
Associate Dean of Marketing & Communications
Arizona Western College