College Unbound's Prison Education Program

College Unbound Prison Education Program

College Unbound's Prison Education Program is designed to increase post-secondary graduation rates for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated adult learners looking to complete their bachelor’s degrees. The framework is rooted in our innovative project-based curriculum combining students' academic work with their passions and interests. CU integrates the students’ own purposes for learning with the needs of their communities, improving the lives of the students and the lives of those they touch.

Currently incarcerated students taking part in CU combine college-level, credit-bearing coursework with what students are passionate about through personalized individual projects. Developing and implementing authentic projects keeps students motivated through completion, and increases their chances of finding adequate paying employment upon release.  

Students are provided support throughout the program to enable them to embrace self-directed learning. They are connected to peer learning communities and mentors that provide continuous support as well as encouragement and resources specific to their circumstances. With support from faculty-advisors who have a deep understanding of experiential learning, students set explicit long-term goals for their education, as well as shorter-term objectives with real-life implications that enable them to develop projects relevant to their lives and to their communities.

Inside the prison, students work through a 15-credit curriculum of coursework. Incarcerated alumni remain connected to the program by becoming mentors and recruiters. When students are released they can transfer their credits to College Unbound and continue on the pathway towards degree completion.

Once outside, students can continue to receive support to help ease their transition back into society and ensure their personal and professional success. College Unbound has a Case Manager on staff who can identify the necessary resources needed in order to have a smooth transition back into society. They support students with issues related to housing, employment, substance abuse, community and family reunification.

We also offer a gateway transition course for 3 credits that readies students to take courses on the outside. Students also work with our financial aid specialist who assists with the financial aid applications and student loans, and an Admissions/Registration specialist to help them get enrolled.