By Christopher Zoukis
The other day a good friend passed along a few letters which several schools had sent him concerning college-level correspondence education. He was digging through the Distance Education and Training Council’s (DETC) directory of accredited schools and wrote to several concerning his own studies. As a result of his letters, these schools responded that they either no longer — or never — offered paper-based college-level courses. The goal of this post is to simply alert you as to which schools solely offer online-only course methodologies. This way you won’t waste time contacting them on behalf of your incarcerated students.
The schools which informed him that they are online-only are as follows:
~ Aspen University
~Texas Tech University
~Washington State University, Global Campus
~University College & Extension Services, California State University at Long Beach
It is sad to see so many schools only offering courses to students via online studies. As recently reported here at PrisonEducation.com, Brigham Young University (BYU) and CLEP no longer offer a paper-based course delivery option. They add to a number of other schools which formerly provided such a delivery option to incarcerated students, but no longer do so. Even Penn State University used to offer paper-based college courses to incarcerated students; they ceased several years ago. Their business administration program was heralded as the best in the country for incarcerated students, while it lasted.
While it is understandable in today’s digital age that paper-based college courses are being phased out in deference to online courseware, it is still a tough pill to swallow. Every year a number of schools which used to offer paper-based courses to inmates cease their operations in favor of online courses. While a better option for their traditional students, this is detrimental to their prisoner-students, since they cannot log onto a computer and complete their courses online, and their coursework must be sent via the U.S. Mail. Thus, there is an ever-growing technological divide between those incarcerated and those not.
One is left to wonder what will become of the higher education scene in prison after all of the colleges and universities in the United States no longer offer paper-based courses which incarcerated students can enroll in. Something needs to be done, and it needs to be done before it is too late. For now we will have to put our faith in schools such as Ohio University (which has a somewhat tarnished customer service reputation), California Coastal University, and Adams State College. The choices are limited, and we must act before they go away completely.