A shortage of skilled laborers in the craft of welding is poised to seriously hinder America’s production capacity in the coming years. With education policies
A National Network of Prison Education Programs
The 1980s were a period of expansion for prison education programs. Through the vehicle of federal financial assistance, inmates were able to enroll in vocational and college courses in their prisons, programs offered through community colleges and state universities alike. For a period, prisoners had a meaningful chance at learning a quality trade or even earning an associate’s or bachelor’s college degree during their term of imprisonment. Over 350 in-prison college programs flourished, with professors teaching classes “live,” in the prisons.
The Collapse: Congress Slams the Door on Education in Prison
All of this came to a screeching halt with the passage of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. The Act, a component of the anti-prison education agenda pushed in Congress and the Senate, imposed a ban on inmates receiving any form of federal financial aid to assist them in the pursuit of an education. With the slashed funding, nearly every externally supported prison education program in the nation shut down, and the result was an increase in prisoner unrest, violence, and recidivism. Colleges, prisoners, and prison administrators alike objected, and loudly so, but their pleas fell upon deaf ears.
Advocates for eliminating Pell Grants and other need-based financial assistance for prisoners claimed that those incarcerated shouldn’t be given government funding to pursue education. They advanced an agenda asserting that prisoners were taking funding away from traditional college students — a patently false assertion — and that offering college to inmates was a reward for crime. Some even had the gall to suggest that people were committing crimes in order to go to prison, where they could obtain a college education. It was a political firestorm like no other, and one based on emotion, not fact, logic, or empirical research.
Enrolling in college from prison is no easy task. There is the bureaucratic red tape to overcome, an endemic culture of failure, and prison staff members who are more interested in punching a clock than engaging in any form of actual work. But fear not, with persistence, dedication, and a bit of planning, a college education obtained while in prison is possible.
This article presents the five essential steps to enrolling in college from prison. By following these steps, any incarcerated students can learn their prison’s regulations concerning correspondence education, locate quality correspondence programs, obtain authorization to enroll in the courses, and order their first set of college courses.
Step One: Review Prison’s Applicable Policies and Regulations
The first step when engaging in any type of major project is to learn the rules, policies, and procedures surrounding it. This is doubly so in prison, where regulations strictly dictate what is permitted within the confines of the correctional facility, and when breaking these rules and regulations can have very serious, life-altering consequences.
Unfortunately for inmates, there is no clear-cut way of learning what the policies and procedures are for enrolling in college from prison. Generally speaking, a lack of information is the rule. With this in mind, the inmate should go to their law library (if their correctional facility has one) and search for any regulations or program statements (sometimes called “policy statements”) on correspondence programs and college correspondence courses (sometimes called “post-secondary correctional education courses”). In prison systems like the Federal Bureau of Prisons, every facility has an electronic law library where this information can be easily obtained. In prison systems that lack law libraries, the inmate should approach education staff and inquire about any policies and procedures concerning correspondence programs.
Correspondence courses involve individual, independent instruction of a student by an instructor on a one-to-one basis. Typically, this will entail study at home, as well as the exchange of materials and evaluations through a mail/courier service. Interaction and feedback between correspondence course faculty and students take the forms of written assignments, testing, evaluations, guidance, and assistance via such media as D2L, print/written word, telephone, fax, e-mail, and other electronic technologies. Computer access and/or a proctored exam will be required as determined by your correspondence instructor. A student must be self-motivated and self-disciplined to successfully complete a correspondence course.
Correspondence courses follow the university Academic Calendar and Tuition and Fees Schedule. University admissions procedures must be followed before registering for these and other distance learning courses. An Admissions application may be completed online and, upon admittance to the university, students may register for courses online via Pipeline.
The links below are to the materials for your course. (If you choose to use this electronic version you do not need to purchase the printed version of the packet but you still need to purchase your textbooks*.) You may choose to print this material from home or a University computer lab or simply save the file on your computer desktop and access it as needed (no printing).
Through Self-paced Courses, part-time students can earn college credit by taking correspondence or online courses at their own pace. All courses are taught from a distance—no class attendance is required. The courses can be started at any time and are not tied to a semester schedule. Students have nine months to complete the course work.
The institutions offering courses are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. All courses have been approved by the department offering the course. Courses originate and credit is granted from eight institutions in the University of North Carolina system:
- Appalachian State University
- East Carolina University
- Elizabeth City State University
- North Carolina State University
- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
- Western Carolina University
College Credit Courses
Wish you could “attend” class while sitting in a park? In your living room? Or at the local coffee shop?
At the University of North Dakota, you can take college courses when, where, and how you want! Whether you prefer interactive online courses or independent study, you can get the education you want, the flexibility you need, and the quality you deserve.
Choose from 2 Types of College Credit Courses:
Enroll Anytime = Self-paced independent study courses available online or through correspondence by mail. You may enroll at any time and take up to 9 months to complete your course. Courses do not qualify for financial aid.
Semester-Based = Online courses that follow the standard University schedule. You will interact in a virtual classroom with your instructor and other students as well as follow deadlines for lessons and exams. Courses qualify for financial aid.
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