New Research Finds that California Must Do More to Support Formerly and Currently Incarcerated Students Seeking to Earn a College Degree

Today, the Campaign for College Opportunity released “The Possibility Report: From Prison to College Degrees in California,” a research publication that provides demographics on California’s incarcerated and paroled populations, highlights the unique barriers currently and formerly incarcerated students face on their path toward a degree and provides recommendations for college campuses and the state to increase college opportunity for these students.

Currently, of the 650,000 Californians who are incarcerated, on parole, or on probation, fewer than 20,000 (less than three percent) are enrolled in some form of higher education. Increasing college success among these individuals would benefit the students and the state, as, one study estimated that if 50% of college-eligible incarcerated Californians participated in a postsecondary prison education program, the state could potentially save $66.6 million per year. However, currently and formerly incarcerated students face a unique set of barriers to obtaining their degrees.

Through a series of focus groups with formerly incarcerated individuals who are attending or have attended a public college or university in California, the Campaign for College Opportunity learned that inconsistent services, messages, and policies work against the success of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated students. The focus groups revealed: Read more