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Northern Virginia Community College Achieves a ‘Leader College of Distinction’ Award from Achieving the Dream

NOVA Faculty and Staff receive the "Leader College of Distinction" Award from Achieving the Dream.

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD (February 20, 2020) – Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) received recognition as a ‘Leader College of Distinction’ from the Achieving the Dream (ATD) national network. Each year ATD honors outstanding achievement of their network colleges through awards and recognition. Being designated as a Leader College of Distinction elevates NOVA’s status within the national network.    

Since joining ATD in 2007, NOVA has addressed barriers to student success through initiatives designed to help students from the time they first begin their college career through their academic journey. Due to its innovative approaches, NOVA earned the Leader College designation in 2010 after demonstrating a significant increase in student success metrics. Additionally, NOVA became a leader among peer institutions through sharing its experiences and strategies, contributing to the ATD’s national network.

NOVA’s award recognition letter indicated that the College demonstrated significant gains for Black students in persistence and Hispanic students’ completion of gateway math courses. Additionally, the College has increased the rate of students transferring to 4-year institutions. Earning this national recognition highlights the hard work and dedication of the college to the success of our students. “Community colleges provide the on-ramps for students who may have never thought a chance at higher education was possible. Achieving the Dream helps colleges like NOVA to ensure that every student achieves, every program succeeds and every community prospers. NOVA is honored to be recognized as the recipient for the ‘Leader College of Distinction’ Award,” said Dr. Anne Kress, President of Northern Virginia Community College.

Only colleges that have been Leader Colleges for three or more years were eligible to apply for this status. In addition, the increased visibility should help accelerate the adoption of effective practices across the Network institutions and the community college field as a whole. NOVA joins other top community colleges in earning the distinction this year:

  • Alamo Colleges District (TX) 2020 Leah Meyer Austin award winner
  • Austin Community College District (TX)
  • Brazosport College (TX)
  • Columbus State Community College (OH) 2019 Leah Meyer Austin award winner
  • Grayson College (TX)
  • Harper College (IL) 2016 Leah Meyer Austin award winner
  • Montgomery County Community College (PA) 2014 Leah Meyer Austin award winner
  • Porterville Community College (CA)
  • San Jacinto College (TX)
  • West Hills College Lemoore (CA)

“Accelerating improvement in student success outcomes is difficult work and requires a sustained commitment from the entire college community. Small but national recognitions like this one are important for affirming and applauding the often unsung and behind the scenes work of these institutions,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream.


Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's website,

About Achieving the Dream

Achieving the Dream (ATD) leads a growing network of 277 community colleges committed to helping their students, particularly low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity. ATD is making progress in closing academic achievement gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. ATD, along with 75 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with Network colleges in 44 states and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit ATD’s website

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) is the largest public institution of higher learning in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls nearly 80,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield (Medical Education Campus) and Woodbridge, through NOVA Online and high school dual enrollment. We offer more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs to help our students reach their academic and professional goals through university transfers and access to the most in-demand careers. At NOVA, we strive to ensure that every student succeeds, every program achieves and every community prospers. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, visit our website, www.nvcc.eduor call 703.323.3000.