Leah Meyer Austin Award


Achieving the Dream’s  Leah Meyer Austin Award is the highest honor a college in the ATD Network can earn. The award has been given annually since 2009 to a college that employs a holistic approach to reducing achievement gaps between student groups and increasing success for all. The award recognizes institutional strength, aligned policies and procedures, a student-focused culture, and notable increases in student outcomes.

The selection process reflects the latest approaches to student success work and results. As colleges are increasingly able to gather, analyze, and present data to motivate change that benefits students, ATD’s partnerships with the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) and others allow us to incorporate into the selection criteria nationally recognized student success metrics. In addition, more Network colleges are using ATD’s Institutional Capacity Assessment Tool (ICAT) to identify their strengths and needs in areas such as equity, teaching and learning, engagement, and communication. The selection process also acknowledges colleges’ efforts to strengthen institutional capacity in building a student-centered culture.

Eligible colleges are Leader Colleges in good standing, participants in the ATD Network since 2016 or earlier, and have not won the award in the last five years.

In addition, eligible colleges have met one or more of the following data criteria by showing:

  • Four-year improvement in the IPEDS three-year graduation rate of at least three percentage points (first-time full-time students) 
  • Four-year improvement in the National Student Clearinghouse three-year graduation rate of at least three percentage points (first time ever in college, degree seeking, both full-time and part-time)
  • Six-year transfer-out bachelor's degree completion rate at or above the national level
  • Selection in 2017 as one of the top 150 colleges in the competition for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

Application information will be announced in early September 2019.  Applications for the 2020 Leah Meyer Austin Award are due October 22, 2019.

Network colleges that meet these criteria will receive an invitation by email to complete an application.

Please contact austinaward@achievingthedream.org or 240-450-0075 if you have questions.

Congratulations to the 2019 Leah Meyer Austin Award winners Amarillo College and Columbus State Community College. Read more about them here and here. Read about our LMA Award winning colleges:

2019 Leah Meyer Austin Award - Columbus State Community College
2019 Leah Meyer Austin Award - Amarillo College
2018 Leah Meyer Austin Award - Texarkana College
2018 Leah Meyer Austin Award - Odessa College
2017 Leah Meyer Austin Award - Pierce College District
2017 Leah Meyer Austin Award - Miami Dade College
2016 Leah Meyer Austin Award - William Rainey Harper College 
2015 Leah Meyer Austin Award - The Community College of Baltimore County
2015 Leah Meyer Austin Award - Patrick Henry Community College
2014 Leah Meyer Austin Award - Bunker Hill Community College
2014 Leah Meyer Austin Award - Montgomery County Community College 
2013 Leah Meyer Austin Award - South Texas College
2012 Leah Meyer Austin Award - Zane State College
2011 Leah Meyer Austin Award - El Paso Community College
2010 Leah Meyer Austin Award - Guilford Technical Community College
2009 Leah Meyer Austin Award - Valencia Community College


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