By Kate Randall / World Socialist Web Site Image courtesy upworthy.com The prison populations in most US states are at historic highs. Prisons in 36
On June 14, 2014, the Law Office of Jeremy Gordon, in conjunction with the national criminal justice reform organization Prisology, announced the latest installment in their Commitment to Change College Scholarship. This scholarship covers the cost of tuition and books for one federal prisoner to take one course at the regionally accredited Adams State University, a university highly regarded by most incarcerated students for their prisoner-friendly correspondence policies and recommended in both Education Behind Bars(Sunbury Press, 2012) and the Prisoners Guerrilla Handbook to Correspondence Programs in the U.S. and Canada (Prison Legal News, 2009).
This scholarship is offered four times a year to one federal prisoner who submits either an essay or a piece of artwork for judging. There is no entry fee to participate. Due to Prisology’s significant reform efforts during the first quarter of 2014 — which consisted of testifying before Congress concerning the two-point sentencing reduction for federal drug offenders and its potential retroactivity, and other non-Congressional outreach concerning clemency petitions and various federal sentencing legislation and initiatives — this quarter’s scholarship will be awarded to not one, but two federal prisoners: the first and second place winners of the current contest.
By Olivia Niland As California Gov. Jerry Brown continues to emphasize a commitment to shrinking state prison populations and reinvesting in California’s flagging K-12 public
By James R. Smith
I have been incarcerated for twelve years now and education has and always been my strongest ambition. As a former innate paralegal, I decided to expand my mind by gaining a college education, but the problem was: How was I going to pay for it? That’s the question most individuals who are incarcerated ask themselves, especially if they don’t have family members or friends to help them. But be not despaired.
I was fortunate. A good friend of mine was willing to pay for my initial education. As a result of his kindness, I was able to obtain an Associate’s of Science Degree in Paralegal Studies. But what now! I have a strong desire, like most individuals, to continue my education. However, I am financially unable to do so. I thought about financial aid, but with the congressional elimination of federal Fell Grants in 1994, financial aid was not possible, or so I thought. I learned that “individuals who are currently incarcerated have limited eligibility for federal student aid. Individuals incarcerated in federal or state institutions are eligible only for Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSB9G) and Federal Work Study.” The FSBOG provides awards for students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. Since these are grants the student does not have to work for the money nor does the money have to be repaid.
The Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the starting point for accessing all federal student aid. This is the government form you use to apply for a number of sources of federal student aid, including the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants and Work-Study. Most states and schools also use information from the FAFSA to award additional types of financial aid, such as, state-need aid and scholarships.
If a person has access to the Internet or has a friend or family member that is willing to help, I have included Web Sites for the purpose of researching Scholarships in order to help those seeking additional funding in order to take college courses or to further their college education.
Seeking Grants and Scholarships takes patience and time so do not despair if one or more places deny your request or application. Keep at it and remember, ‘Hard Work Pays Off.’ Additionally, many grants and scholarships have filing deadlines so one must be diligent in researching and meeting any and all deadlines requested by the school, organization or foundation.