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PHOENIX -- Six schools in the Maricopa County College system have been recognized as being among the top 150 schools in the nation and are eligible to compete for a $1 million prize.

Phoenix College and Estrella Mountain, GateWay, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale and South Mountain community colleges were selected to the list.

The schools were named to the list by the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. All were named to the list because of their degree completion rates, employment rate and compensation and ease of access for minority and low-income students.

"We are honored to have been recognized by the Aspen Institute," said Maricopa Community Colleges Chancellor Rufus Glasper in a press release. "As a system, we are among the largest in the nation. As such, we are a major supplier of students transferring to the state's public universities, and the largest workforce trainer in the state of Arizona. We are working hard to continue improving our outcomes and this honor is indicative of our students' and faculty's success."

In total, 150 schools will compete for the award that is given out every two years. The winner is expected to be announced in early 2015.

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