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Institute for Higher Education Policy Brief State Prison Education Survey 2011

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ISSUE
BRIEF
Institute for Higher Education Policy

1320 19th Street, NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036

Unlocking Potential:
Results of a National
Survey of Postsecondary
Education in State Prisons
By L aura E. Gorgol
Brian A . Sponsler, ed.d.

May 2011

202 861 8223 	TELEPHONE
202 861 9307 	FACSIMILE
www.ihep.org 	Web

IB01201105

Table of Contents
Executive Summary
Introduction and Overview
Postsecondary Education in Prisons: A Federal Policy Lens
Postsecondary Education in Prisons: Results of a National Survey
Moving Forward: Conclusions and Policy Recommendations
Appendix A
References

Acknowledgments
The authors would like to thank the Institute for Higher Education (IHEP) staff who contributed to this issue brief, including Michelle
Asha Cooper, president; Alisa Federico Cunningham, vice president of research and programs; Gregory S. Kienzl, director of research
and evaluation; Alexis J. Wesaw, research associate; Anne Bowles, policy and outreach associate; and Amal Kumar, research intern;
as well as IHEP Communications Consultant Tia T. Gordon at TTG+Partners, LLC.
We would also like to thank members the Correctional Education Administrators (CEA) who participated in our survey and provided
valuable commentary on the provision of postsecondary education within prisons.
Also, we thank John Linton, director, Office of Correctional Education OVAE, U.S. Department of Education for his feedback and
advice, as well as the support of CEA Executive Director Stephen J. Steurer, Ph.D.
Finally, we are grateful for the financial support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. With the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation, IHEP launched its “Changing the Debate” initiative to bring timely, thought-provoking, and data-driven research and
promising interventions to the policy debate; this brief is a part of this larger campaign.
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IHEP, the reviewers,
survey participants, or funder.

Executive Summary

An estimated 2.3 million people are incarcerated in the United States. On any given day, more than
one in 100 adults are in jail or prison (Pew Center on the States [Pew] 2008; West 2010). Driven by
the tripling of the incarcerated population over the past three decades, the United States has the
highest prison population rate in the world (Walmsley 2009)1 and one out of every 31 U.S. adults is
under some form of correctional control (Pew 2008).2
The incarcerated population differs from the general population
in important ways. Incarcerated persons are disproportionally
likely to come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds;
to be members of racial/ethnic minority groups; to have held a
low-skill, low-paying job (if employed at all) at the time of arrest;
and to be less educated than their counterparts in the general
population (Harlow 2003). In short, the sizeable incarcerated
population consists of people in critical need of education to
improve their post-release opportunities for employment and
participation in civil society.

In addition to their educational needs, large incarcerated populations impose significant financial burdens on state budgets. From
2005 through 2009 state spending on corrections grew at a rate
faster than any other expenditure category, increasing 25 percent.
In comparison, state spending on higher education increased 18
percent during the same period (National Association of State
Budget Officers [NASBO] 2009). Taken together, states spend over
$52 billion annually on corrections and related activities (NASBO
2010), an amount that restricts discretionary monies available for
other public outlays; one out of every 15 state discretionary
spending dollars goes toward corrections-related costs (Pew 2008).

 ollowing the U. S. high-water mark of 756 incarcerations per 100,000 population are Russia (629),
F
Rwanda (604), St. Kitts and Nevis (588), Cuba (531), U.S. Virgin Islands (512), British Virgin Islands
(488), Palau (478), Belarus (468), Belize (455), Bahamas (422), Georgia (415), American Samoa
(410), Grenada (408), and Anguilla (401).
“Correctional control” captures persons in jail, in prison, on probation, or otherwise under criminal
justice supervision.

Staggering rates of recidivism contribute to the high incarceration
levels and associated financial costs. Recidivism occurs when a
former inmate commits a criminal act that results in rearrest, reconviction, or return to prison within three years of release (U.S. Bureau

1

2

INSTITUTE FOR HIGHER EDUCATION POLICY

1
01

of Justice Statistics [BJS] 2009). Estimates vary, but research
suggests that nearly seven in 10 formerly incarcerated persons
will commit a new crime, and half will end up back in prison within
three years (BJS 2009; Langan and Levin 2002). Given that
roughly 95 of every 100 prisoners will eventually rejoin society
(Harrison and Beck 2006), policy efforts to decrease the likelihood
of recidivism are important on both social and economic grounds.

Focusing on Postsecondary Education in Prisons
In one approach to meet the educational needs of incarcerated
populations and reduce levels of recidivism, policymakers have
turned to postsecondary correctional education (PSCE). PSCE
encompasses any academic or vocational coursework an incarcerated person takes beyond the high school diploma or equivalent that can be used toward a certificate or an associate’s,
bachelor’s, or graduate degree. Though scholarship on the prevalence of PSCE is limited (owing mainly to a lack of systematically collected data comparable across states), research
suggests that 35 percent to 42 percent of correctional facilities
offer some form of PSCE (Erisman and Contardo 2005; Stephan
2008). Among those who have participated in PSCE, several
positive post-release outcomes have been observed, including
increased educational attainment levels, reduced recidivism
rates, and improved post-release employment opportunities and
earnings (Gaes 2008; Meyer et al. 2010; Winterfield et al. 2009).
Despite the positive outcomes associated with PSCE, discussion of postsecondary opportunity for the nation’s prison population is notably absent from the top tier of state and federal

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02

policy agendas. This lack of topline policy attention to PSCE is
detrimental to the country—postsecondary education has a critical role to play in mitigating challenging social conditions exacerbated by high incarceration levels.
As policymakers consider ways to increase educational attainment, generate future economic growth, and reduce public
expenditures, educational opportunity for the incarcerated
population should be a meaningful component of policy strategies. Designed to increase knowledge about how states are
providing postsecondary education to incarcerated individuals,
this brief rests on results of a national survey of state correctional education administrators (CEAs), presenting unique
policy relevant information on the availability, administration,
and funding of PSCE in state prison systems. A central purpose
of the brief is to elevate the policy attention paid to postsecondary opportunity for incarcerated persons.

Key Findings
The data for this brief were gathered from a 19-item Web-based
national survey of correctional education administrators (CEAs).
Forty-three states responded, for an 86 percent response rate.3
Findings and discussion of the survey highlight student enrollments and completions, instructional methods, eligibility requirements, and funding sources of postsecondary education programs
in state prison systems. Key findings include these:
3

 he following states did not respond to the survey: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois,
T
Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Unlocking Potential: Results of a National Survey of Postsecondary Education in State Prisons

•
Participating states reported approximately 71,000 persons
enrolled in vocational or academic postsecondary education
programs in prisons for academic year 2009–10; 6 percent of
the incarcerated population in these states.
• Thirteen high-enrollment states accounted for 86 percent of all
incarcerated postsecondary students in the state prison systems
included in this study.
• Incarcerated students are not earning two- or four-year postsecondary degrees in significant numbers. Findings illustrate
that three out of every four students were enrolled in a vocational or certificate program. Although all types of PSCE are
valuable, survey results indicate that most incarcerated
students are not on an educational pathway likely to result in
academic degree attainment.
•
Postsecondary correctional education is delivered primarily
through onsite instruction. Survey respondents reported logistical challenges associated with providing education in a
prison and recommended technology as one way to improve
the delivery of PSCE.
• Security protocols and state statutes were identified as significant barriers to expanding the use of Internet technologies to
support the delivery of postsecondary education in prisons.
• A critical challenge facing CEAs is securing funding, a reality

that may worsen in coming years because of the financial
constraints of state budgets.
• Incarcerated students continue to be denied access to federal
and state-based financial aid programs.

Recommendations
On the basis of the findings of this study, we offer three recommendations to facilitate effective policy innovations in the area of PSCE.
Following these recommendations would advance public policy
goals of increasing skill and educational acquisition for incarcerated persons and reducing unsustainably high recidivism rates.
1. To address capacity challenges that limit access to postsecondary education in prisons, federal and state statutes and
regulations should be revised to support the development and
expansion of Internet-based delivery of such education.
2. To increase educational attainment, support economic development, and make efficient use of limited public funding, postsecondary correctional education programs should be closely
aligned with state postsecondary education systems and local
workforce needs.
3. To support increased access to postsecondary education in
prisons, federal and state statutes should be amended to
make specific categories of incarcerated persons eligible for
need-based financial aid.

INSTITUTE FOR HIGHER EDUCATION POLICY

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Introduction and Overview

Leaders of government, labor, business, and philanthropy are calling on the nation to increase postsecondary attainment levels so the United States can once again become the world’s most educated
country. Informed by this goal, postsecondary stakeholders are attempting to wring productivity gains
out of institutions through innovations and reconfigured pathways into and through postsecondary
education for today’s students. And yet a sizeable and growing number of potential students from
demographic groups critical to increasing national attainment levels (e.g., low-income youth and adults,
racial/ethnic minorities, and persons in need of worker retraining and basic skills acquisition) are being
locked out of educational opportunity and overlooked in postsecondary access and success discussions. Who are these potential students? Incarcerated persons.
An estimated 2.3 million people are incarcerated in the United
States. On any given day, more than one in 100 adults are in jail or
prison (Pew Center on the States [Pew] 2008; West 2010). Driven
by the tripling of the incarcerated population over the past three
decades, the United States has the highest prison population rate
in the world (Walmsley 2009)3 and one out of every 31 U.S. adults
is under some form of correctional control (Pew 2008).4
The incarcerated population differs from the general population
in important ways. Incarcerated persons are disproportionally
likely to come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds;
to be members of a racial/ethnic minority group; to have held a
low-skill, low-paying job (if employed at all) at the time of arrest;

3

4

 ollowing the U.S. high-water mark of 756 incarcerations per 100,000 population are Russia
F
(629), Rwanda (604), St. Kitts and Nevis (588), Cuba (531), U.S. Virgin Islands (512), British Virgin
Islands (488), Palau (478), Belarus (468), Belize (455), Bahamas (422), Georgia (415), American
Samoa (410), Grenada (408), and Anguilla (401).
“Correctional control” captures persons in jail, in prison, on probation, or otherwise under criminal
justice supervision.

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04

and to be less educated than their counterparts in the general
population (Harlow 2003). In short, the sizeable incarcerated
population consists of people in critical need of education to
improve their post-release opportunities for employment and
participation in civil society.
In addition to their educational needs, large incarcerated populations impose significant financial burdens on state budgets.
From 2005 through 2009, for example, state spending on corrections grew faster than any other expenditure category, increasing
25 percent. In comparison, state spending on higher education
increased 18 percent during the same period (National Association of State Budget Officers [NASBO] 2009). Taken together,
states spend over $52 billion annually on corrections and related
activities (NASBO 2010), an amount that restricts discretionary
monies available for other public outlays; one out of every 15
state discretionary spending dollars goes toward correctionsrelated costs (Pew 2008).

Unlocking Potential: Results of a National Survey of Postsecondary Education in State Prisons

Staggering rates of recidivism contribute to the high incarceration levels and associated financial costs. Recidivism occurs
when a former inmate commits a criminal act that results in rearrest, reconviction, or return to prison within three years of
release (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics [BJS] 2009). Estimates
vary, but research suggests that nearly seven in 10 formerly
incarcerated persons will commit a new crime, and half will end
up back in prison within three years (BJS 2009; Langan and
Levin 2002). Given that roughly 95 out of every 100 prisoners
will eventually rejoin society (Harrison and Beck 2006), policy
efforts to decrease the likelihood of recidivism are important on
both social and economic grounds.

Focusing on Postsecondary Education in Prisons
In one approach to meet the educational needs of incarcerated
populations and reduce levels of recidivism, policymakers have
turned to postsecondary correctional education (PSCE). PSCE
encompasses any academic or vocational coursework an
incarcerated person takes beyond the high school diploma or
equivalent that can be used toward a certificate or an associate’s, bachelor’s, or graduate degree. Though scholarship on
the prevalence of PSCE is limited (owing mainly to a lack of
systematically collected data comparable across states),
research suggests that 35 percent to 42 percent of correctional
facilities offer some form of PSCE (Erisman and Contardo 2005;
Stephan 2008). Among those who have participated in PSCE,
several positive post-release outcomes have been observed,
including increased educational attainment levels, reduced
recidivism rates, and improved post-release employment
opportunities and earnings (Gaes 2008; Meyer et al. 2010;
Winterfield et al. 2009).

Despite the positive outcomes associated with PSCE, discussion of postsecondary opportunity for the nation’s prison population is notably absent from the top tier of state and federal
policy agendas. This lack of topline policy attention to PSCE is
detrimental to the country—postsecondary education has a critical role to play in mitigating challenging social conditions exacerbated by high incarceration levels. As policymakers consider
ways to increase educational attainment, generate future
economic growth, and reduce public expenditures, educational
opportunity for the incarcerated population should be a meaningful component of policy strategies.

Informing Conversations, Moving Policy Debates
Built on results of a national survey of state correctional education administrators (CEAs), this brief presents unique policy-relevant information on the availability, administration, and funding
of PSCE in state prison systems, aiming to increase the policy
attention paid to postsecondary opportunity for incarcerated
persons. Findings and analysis highlight student enrollments
and completions, instructional methods, eligibility requirements,
and funding sources of postsecondary education programs in
state prison systems. Decision makers need to understand this
information as they design policies and practices to increase the
educational attainment and market-relevant skill acquisition of
the nation’s prison population.
We begin by providing context for the study, including an overview
of the federal policy environment for PSCE. Subsequent sections
discuss survey results and key findings. The brief concludes with
policy recommendations designed to improve delivery of and
access to postsecondary education in state prison systems.

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Postsecondary Education
in Prisons: A Federal
Policy Lens
The federal policy environment for PSCE provides a context for an analysis of survey responses
collected in support of this brief. Previous research into funding, administration, and use of PSCE
suggests that federal policy significantly affects state provision of such programs. In our discussion,
we highlight key federal policies that affect PSCE, emphasizing recent statutory adjustments to student
eligibility and program funding structures.
Student Financial Aid Eligibility
As with postsecondary education generally, federal financial aid
availability and eligibility requirements impact access to PSCE.
Establishment of the federal Pell Grant program in 1972 had a
dramatic effect on the fiscal accessibility of postsecondary
education to the prison population (Welsh 2002). The Pell Grant
program awards federal student aid for postsecondary education on the basis of financial need. Given the preponderance of
low-income persons in the nation’s penal systems (Harlow 2003;
Harrison and Beck 2006), many people have been able to use
Pell Grants while incarcerated to fund their postsecondary
pursuits (Tewksbury and Taylor 1996; Zook 1994). These grants
have allowed incarcerated students to be less reliant on private
or state support as they pursued postsecondary education.
In the mid-1990s, changing attitudes and policies toward crime
led to the elimination of Pell Grant eligibility for prisoners
through a provision in the Violent Crime Control Act of 1994
(Ubah 2004; Zook 1994). This policy change was based on the
idea that awarding Pell Grants to prisoners limited nonprisoner
access to the grants (Erisman and Contardo 2005), as well as
challenging political environments created by a hostile, antieducation, anti-inmate ethos in Congress and society at large
(Gehring 1997).

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06

Eligibility for student financial aid for incarcerated persons remains
a politically charged issue—particularly in the midst of fiscal
uncertainty—but the issue of prisoner access to traditional federal
need-based financial aid programs is likely to remain on the
federal policy agenda.

Federal Grant Aid to States
Four years after stripping incarcerated students of their Pell eligibility, Congress revisited the issue of federal support for postsecondary education in prisons, enacting the Workforce and
Community Transition Training for Incarcerated Youth Offenders
Program (IYO). The IYO grant program provided funding to cover
the costs of postsecondary academic and vocational education
for youth offenders, as well as employment counseling and other
related services (U.S. Department of Education 2009). Eligibility
for IYO grants required state PSCE programs to limit participants
to persons 25 years and younger who had earned a high school
diploma or GED certificate and were within five years of release.
The IYO statute also limited per-student state spending on PSCE,
effectively restricting the number of units a student could take at
any one time and lengthening the time to program completion.
Since their inception, IYO grants and successor programs have
become the most commonly used source of revenue to support
PSCE programming (Erisman and Contardo 2005).

Unlocking Potential: Results of a National Survey of Postsecondary Education in State Prisons

box 1:

Previous Investigation into Postsecondary Correctional Education Policy

In 2005, the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) published a significant report examining postsecondary correctional education
and policy: Learning to Reduce Recidivism: A 50-State Analysis of Postsecondary Correctional Education Policy (Erisman and Contardo
2005). The authors conducted a broad survey of correctional education administrators from 45 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
The survey asked specific questions regarding postsecondary education offered in each prison system; it collected data on eligibility
requirements, enrollment patterns, graduation rates, instructional methods, and funding sources. Findings from the investigation revealed
PSCE program offerings, delivery methods, funding sources, and barriers to participation.

Of the 45 state prison systems included in the analysis, 43
offered some form of postsecondary education. Notably the
authors found that participation rates had returned to pre-1994
levels, when federal policy changes eliminated prisoners’ eligibility for Pell Grants.
In 2005, funding sources were found to be diverse, ranging
from federal and state funding to prisoner self-funding. The
most commonly cited funding source was federal block
grants administered through the Federal Incarcerated Youth
Offender program.

Recommendations from the report focused heavily on funding;
they included reinstating Pell Grant eligibility for prisoners;
expanding federal grant programs aimed at PSCE; allocating
additional state funds to the public colleges and universities
that provide instruction for postsecondary correctional education programs; and allowing prisoners to be eligible for state
need-based financial aid.
To access and download a copy of this report, go to the IHEP
Web site at http://www.ihep.org/publications/publications-detail.
cfm?id=47.

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In 2008, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed
into law the Reauthorization of the Higher Education Opportunity
Act (P.L. 110-315) (HEOA 2008). HEOA 2008 renamed the IYO
program the Workforce and Community Transitions Training for
Incarcerated Individuals Program (IIP) and changed key components on the statute. For instance, the law adjusted eligibility
requirements for participation in postsecondary education,
including raising the age eligibility limit from 25 to 35 years. The
statute also increased states’ flexibility in selecting program
participants, the maximum financial expenditure allowed per
student, and the length of time students may spend in remedial
education after receiving a high school diploma. These three
changes increased policy flexibility for states and enabled more
people to be eligible for PSCE funding (Linton 2009).
Although advocates of PSCE welcomed the expanded age eligibility and flexibility in delivery, certain provisions of HEOA 2008
placed new restrictions on eligibility for certain offenders and
reduced overall federal financial support for PSCE initiatives. On
the fiscal front, support for PSCE declined significantly; appropriations decreased from nearly $23 million in 2008 to $17 million
in fiscal year 2009 (U.S. Department of Education 2010).
Turning to prisoner eligibility, sections of the HEOA 2008 Act
required that states no longer provide funds for PSCE to individuals convicted of specified sexual offenses or murder. Moreover, the bill extended the ban on Pell Grant eligibility to
individuals committed to involuntary civil commitment centers;
these centers typically house released persons convicted of a

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sexual crime. It is important to note, however, that the HEOA
2008 Act maintained Pell eligibility for individuals held in detention centers and halfway houses.
A second notable policy action was the 2008 adoption of the
Second Chance Act (P.L. 110–199), which was designed to
improve reentry prospects for incarcerated persons. The legislation authorized federal grants to government agencies and
nonprofit organizations to provide a range of services, including
education, aimed at reducing recidivism (Council of State
Governments 2010). Nearly $90 million was appropriated
toward a wide range of education programming; a portion of
this money went toward PSCE programs (Linton 2009).
However, the recent fiscal climate has placed increasing pressure on state budgets, calling into question the ability of states
to maintain funding commitments to PSCE in spite of federal
grant funding (Scott-Hayward 2009).
Federal policy actions have provided funding for postsecondary
education in prisons, defined age and other eligibility requirements, and structured (to varying extents) program administration and delivery. However, outside the federal prison system,
state prison systems are responsible for implementing postsecondary education programs and policy.
To gain insight into how states administer, deliver, and fund postsecondary education for incarcerated persons, the Institute for
Higher Education Policy (IHEP) conducted a national survey of
state-level correctional education administrators (See box 2).

Unlocking Potential: Results of a National Survey of Postsecondary Education in State Prisons

box 2:

Methods and Analysis

The data for this brief were gathered from a 19-item Web-based national survey of CEAs. Forty-three states responded, for an 86 percent
response rate.* Using the Association of Correctional Education Administrators biannual membership publication, we identified the head
CEA of postsecondary correctional education in each of the 50 states. When possible, names and contact information were cross-checked
against the Department of Education’s Education Resource Organizations Directory and through individual state department of corrections
Web sites. Follow-up telephone calls were made to verify the names and contact information.

The survey was divided into five sections: (1) Respondent
information; (2) postsecondary education offerings and funding
structures; (3) program delivery methods; (4) program participation; and (5) observed outcomes of PSCE programs.
Additional questions collected demographic and contextual
information on responding states. See Appendix A for a copy of
the survey instrument.

IHEP staff analyzed the survey results and secondary data drawn
from national datasets, and wrote the findings. As a final step,
key findings and policy recommendations were shared and discussed with external reviewers and decision makers whose work
touches on PSCE delivery and policy implementation.
*

 he following states did not respond to the survey: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois,
T
Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

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Postsecondary Education
in Prisons: Results of a
National Survey

As noted previously, recent changes to federal statutes have both restricted funding and enhanced
access to PSCE for specific categories of prisoners. However, little is known about the effects of
the current policy environment on state administration, funding, and delivery of postsecondary
education in prison systems. Building on IHEP’s previous work, we conducted a national survey of
correctional education administrators to examine the details of postsecondary education programs
in state prison systems.
The survey collected information on student enrollments and
completions, instructional methods, eligibility requirements,
and funding sources of postsecondary education programs in
state prison systems. The data suggest that despite key
changes in policy and in the fiscal constraints on state budgets,
postsecondary education remains available in state correctional
facilities across the nation. However, we observed variation in all
categories: Enrollments, completions, delivery methods, eligibility requirements, and use of various funding sources for
PSCE programs.

10

Enrollments in Postsecondary Correctional Education
Of the 43 states that responded to the survey, all offer some kind
of postsecondary correctional education: Academic, vocational,
or a combination of the two. During the 2009–10 academic year,
approximately 71,000 incarcerated persons were enrolled in some
form of postsecondary education program, representing approximately 6 percent of the incarcerated population in the responding
states (BJS 2009). The predominant form of education offered is
vocational; roughly half of incarcerated students participating in
PSCE were enrolled in vocational education programs.

Unlocking Potential: Results of a National Survey of Postsecondary Education in State Prisons

figure 1

figure 2

U.S. States, by Enrollment Category,
Academic Year 2009–10

Range of Enrollments, by Enrollment Type,
Academic Year 2009–10

Low-Enrollment
High-Enrollment

Low-Enrollment (N=30)

High-Enrollment (N=13)

935

16566

Median
256
+

Median,
3065
+

49

1005

Non-Respondents

Source: Institute for Higher Education Policy Survey (2010)

Source: Institute for Higher Education Policy Survey (2010)

Among responding states, significant variation was observed in
total enrollments. North Carolina, for instance, reported that
approximately 16,500 prisoners were enrolled in some form of
postsecondary education, while South Dakota reported an
enrollment of fewer than 50 students. Prison systems that
reported large postsecondary enrollments differ from those with
a smaller student enrollment. Systems with large enrollments
tend to have larger total prison populations, to focus on short
vocational degree and certificate programs, and to benefit from
state public funding for postsecondary correctional education.

1,000 incarcerated students were deemed high-enrollment;
those that enroll fewer than 1,000 were deemed low-enrollment.5
Figure 1 maps respondent states’ prison systems according to
these two categories.

As the first step in our analysis, we assigned the responding
states to one of two categories: (1) Low-enrollment or (2) highenrollment systems. State prison systems that enroll more than
5

 e follow Erisman and Contardo (2005) in using this convention, so we are able to make comparW
isons in some areas between the two reports. Moreover, the split between low- and high-enrollment states in our survey responses was similar to that observed by Erisman and Contardo
(2005), which found that 14 state prison systems enrolled more than 1,000 inmates; these states
account for 89 percent of inmates enrolled in postsecondary education programs.

Thirteen states served more than 1,000 students and were categorized as high-enrollment states for the purpose of analysis.
These 13 states educated 86 percent (61,000) of the total incarcerated student population from responding states during
academic year 2009–10. Thirty responding states enrolled fewer
than 1,000 students annually.
Survey responses demonstrated considerable variation in the
average number of students served. At the median, high-enrollment systems educated nearly 3,100 students annually, and
low-enrollment systems educated approximately 250 students
(see figure 2). Because of these considerable differences in
median enrollment, we report our results for both low- and
high-enrollment prison systems.

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Table 1

Total Degrees Awarded, by Degree Type and Enrollment Level, Academic Year 2009–10
8000
8000

7477

7000
7000
6000
6000

Low-Enrollment

5000
5000

High-Enrollment

4000
4000
3000
3000

2386

2102

2000
2000
1000
1000
0
0

126
Certificate

Associate’s

27

362

Bachelor’s

Source: Institute for Higher Education Policy Survey (2010)

Educational Focus and Degree Completions
High-enrollment systems enroll the highest percentage of total
incarcerated students in both academic and vocational postsecondary education programs. Survey results indicate that PSCE
programs are not producing academic degrees in large numbers.
Most incarcerated students earn certificates through vocational
education, perhaps in part because of the short-term nature of
both the certificate programs and the students’ sentences. States
reported that approximately 9,900 incarcerated persons earned a
certificate in the 2009–10 academic year; 2,200 associate’s
degrees were awarded, and nearly 400 students earned bachelor’s degrees (see table 1). These results represent a slight
increase over findings from the previous report.6

Delivery Methods of Postsecondary Education in Prisons
Survey respondents reported that the most common form of
program delivery was onsite, in-class instruction; in fact, all 43
6

In their 2005 study, Erisman and Contardo reported that 1,748 students earned associate’s
degrees and 216 earned bachelor’s degrees. Direct comparisons must be made cautiously; data
in both cases were self-reported by correctional education administrators and could not be independently verified. Moreover, the states included in the two studies differ because different states
participated, so comparisons across time are suggestive only.

12

states offered onsite instruction (see table 2). CEAs identified
several challenges related to in-class instruction, including limited
physical space for classroom facilities, security concerns, and
an undersupply of qualified instructors. Finding qualified instructors is particularly difficult for facilities in rural areas, where local
labor markets often lack properly trained instructors and
recruiting individuals to commute from more metropolitan areas
is difficult to sustain with consistency.
One way prison systems overcome some of these challenges is
by relying on correspondence courses. Over three-quarters of
high-enrollment systems offer educational programs through
correspondence courses. In contrast, only half of low-enrollment
systems offer correspondence courses (see table 2). Corrections
officials typically must approve the courses, and students bear the
cost of these programs in most instances, which creates additional administrative and financial barriers to program participation that may be difficult for low-enrollment systems to overcome.
States were less likely to use online or video/satellite instructional
methods compared with in-class instruction. Overall, only 12 of the
43 states used this instructional method—38 percent of high-

Unlocking Potential: Results of a National Survey of Postsecondary Education in State Prisons

Table 2

Types of Instruction Offered by Postsecondary Correctional Education Programs, by Enrollment Type
100%
100%

100% 100%

90%
77%

80%
80%

70%

Low-Enrollment

60%
60%

High-Enrollment

50%

50%

38%

40%
40%
30%

23%

23%

20%
20%
10%
0%
0%

7%

7%
0%

On-Site

Correspondence

Video/Satellite

Other

Internet

note: “Other” includes College Level Examination Program tests and taking prisoners offsite to participate in educational programs
on postsecondary campuses.
Source: Institute for Higher Education Policy Survey (2010)

enrollment systems and nearly a quarter of low-enrollment systems
use these technologies for program delivery (see table 2). These
figures represent a decrease in distance learning and video/satellite instruction from the findings of Erisman and Contardo (2005).7
Despite the limited number of states currently using video/satellite
instructional methods, CEAs look to technology as an innovative
way to improve the delivery of PSCE and to increase access. A
fifth of the states cited technology as a potential innovation to
improve access to PSCE for prisoners. Distance learning through
secured Internet access, video instruction, and hybrid courses
that include both onsite teaching and a correspondence model
were all suggested as ways states could expand their delivery of
PSCE. However, nearly all states prohibit Internet use by prisoners, limiting technology-based access to educational opportunities; this reality is reflected in results that show negligible use of
the Internet to deliver PSCE to incarcerated students.

7

 necdotal evidence from the survey provided one possible explanation for this decrease: EliminaA
tion of a federally-funded distance-learning program called the Corrections Learning Network,
which provided extensive video-formatted educational programs to prisons. For a discussion of
expanding distance learning in prisons see Nick et al. (2009).

The ban on Internet use has strong implications for many aspects
of PSCE, including access to course materials, study resources,
student support information, and distance learning programming. Mirroring a transition in postsecondary education generally, many distance learning (or correspondence) courses have
moved online, away from traditional paper and mail courses,
further limiting prisoners’ access to PSCE. Online education in
prisons would require the provision of safe and secure Internet
portals. However, prisons often lack resources for computers,
Internet, and video instruction.

Eligibility Requirements for Participation
Participation in postsecondary education is dictated by a series of
eligibility requirements beyond the high school diploma or GED
credential. Some of these requirements are based on state statutes, while others are the result of participation in federal grant
programs. The IIP, for instance, dictates that participation in postsecondary education be limited to persons 35 years of age or
younger. The use of eligibility requirements reflects the prison
system’s assessment of who is most likely to benefit from participation in postsecondary education—an important consideration in
justifying funding streams.

INSTITUTE FOR HIGHER EDUCATION POLICY

13

Table 3

Factors Affecting Prisoner Eligibility for Postsecondary Correctional Education, by Enrollment Type
100
100%

90%

87% 85%

85%
77%

80
80%

67%

70%

Low-Enrollment
60%

60%
60
50%

46%

High-Enrollment
50%

46%

46%

38%

40%
40

27%

30%

31%
23%

20%
20
10%
0%
0

Time to
Release

Inmate’s
Age

Reason for
Incarceration

Standard
Test Scores

Length of
Incarceration

In-Prison
Infraction

Other
Factors

Factors Considered
Source: Institute for Higher Education Policy Survey (2010)

Low-enrollment systems reported using an array of criteria to
define eligibility for participation in PSCE. With the exception of inprison infractions and undefined requirements, low-enrollment
systems were more likely than high-enrollment systems to
consider all the eligibility factors included on the survey: Time to
release, age, reason for incarceration, standardized test scores,
and length of sentence (See table 3).
The responses indicated that high-enrollment systems are more
likely to tie participation in postsecondary education to behavior:
Eleven of 13 high-enrollment systems reported using in-prison
infractions to screen for participation in PSCE.
Noncategorized responses—captured in “other factors”—included
ability to pay for a course, employability test scores, security status,
college placement exam scores, and prisoner willingness to sign a
role model agreement form.

Funding of Postsecondary Education in Prisons
Survey respondents reported using a variety of funding sources
to support postsecondary education programs. The most
common source was federal grant funding from the IIP (see
table 4). Ninety-five percent of responding states reported using
IIP grants, including all the high-enrollment systems and 28 out
of 30 of the low-enrollment systems.
A critical difference in funding between low- and high-enrollment systems was the availability of state funds to support
postsecondary education in prison systems. Ten of the 13 high-

14

enrollment systems used state funds, compared with only
seven of the 30 low-enrollment systems (see table 4). The variations in state support for PSCE illustrate the importance of state
appropriations for increasing access to education in prison.
State support typically reflects a commitment to PSCE and a
generally more supportive policy environment for providing postsecondary educational opportunities to incarcerated persons. In
this environment, it may be easier for high-enrollment systems to
garner support and resources to educate more incarcerated
persons. Although the survey data do not include the amount of
funding state prison systems receive, results suggest that the
presence of state funding is a factor in the higher number of prisoners who participate in PSCE.
In addition to federal and state funding, incarcerated persons and
their families can self-finance participation in PSCE. Seventyseven percent of low-enrollment systems and 62 percent of highenrollment systems use family funds to cover the costs of PSCE.
The need to supply their own funding increases the difficulty of
obtaining postsecondary education for a student population that
is typically from a low-income background. Prisoner self-funding
is limiting, because few incarcerated people earn enough money
to cover the cost of PSCE courses. Their lack of eligibility for traditional federal need-based financial aid places an increased burden
on prisoners who must self-fund their educational pursuits.
Not surprisingly, the key challenge to maintaining broad-based
PSCE programs is financial. Nearly 90 percent of the survey

Unlocking Potential: Results of a National Survey of Postsecondary Education in State Prisons

Table 4

Percentage of Prison Systems using Various Funding Sources for PSCE, by Enrollment Type
100
100%

100%
93%

90%
77%

80
80%

70%

77%
Low-Enrollment

62%

High-Enrollment

60%
60
50%
38%

40%
40
30%

23%

20%
20

20%

38%
23%

23% 23%
15%

10%

7%

0%
0
Federal

Family

State

College or
University

Philanthropy

Other

Local

Type of Funding
Source: Institute for Higher Education Policy Survey (2010)

respondents reported financial constraints and related funding
policies as an acute challenge facing state correctional facilities.8 Many respondents indicated that a lack of funding is the
primary barrier to enrolling additional students in PSCE. One
CEA said, “The greatest challenge we face is financial. Logistically, we have the capacity to implement more programs than
we currently have.”

• Incarcerated students are not earning two- or four-year postsecondary degrees in significant numbers. Data collected in the
survey indicated that three out of every four students were
enrolled in a vocational or certificate program. Although all types
of PSCE are valuable, survey results indicate that most incarcerated students are not on an educational pathway likely to result
in academic degree attainment.

Summary of Key Findings

•
Postsecondary correctional education is delivered primarily
through onsite instruction. Survey respondents reported logistical challenges associated with providing education in a prison
and recommended technology as one way to improve the
delivery of PSCE.

The results of IHEP’s national survey of correctional education
administrators reflect the prevalence of PSCE across the states.
The survey results and analysis highlight student enrollments
and completions, instructional methods, eligibility requirements, and funding sources of postsecondary education
programs in state prison systems. There is considerable variation among the responding states, especially between low- and
high-enrollment systems. The following are key findings from
the analysis:
•
Participating states reported approximately 71,000 persons
enrolled in vocational or academic postsecondary education
programs in prisons for academic year 2009–10; approximately
6 percent of the incarcerated population in these states.
• Thirteen high-enrollment states accounted for 86 percent of all
incarcerated postsecondary students in the state prison systems
included in this study.
8

•S
 ecurity protocols and state statutes were identified as significant barriers to expanding the use of Internet technologies to
support delivery of postsecondary education in prisons.
• A critical challenge facing CEAs is securing funding, a reality that
may worsen in coming years because of the financial constraints
of state budgets.
• Incarcerated students continue to be denied access to federal
and state-based financial aid programs, a policy choice that
restricts incarcerated persons from financing participation in
postsecondary correctional education programs.

Eighty-eight percent of states that answered the question (32/36) cited fiscal challenges related to PSCE.

INSTITUTE FOR HIGHER EDUCATION POLICY

15

Moving Forward:
Conclusions and Policy
Recommendations

Given that roughly 95 percent of incarcerated persons are expected to return to society, programs
and initiatives designed to increase the likelihood of successful reentry are critical to individuals
and to society at large. Postsecondary education has been identified as one factor that facilitates
successful reentry. Positive post-release outcomes associated with participation in PSCE include
increased educational attainment, reduced recidivism rates, and improved employment opportunities
and earnings (Gaes 2008; Meyer et al. 2010; Winterfield et al. 2009)—all factors that support broader
policy goals of increasing national educational attainment, broadening the tax base, and reducing
public expenditures.
Despite the alignment of PSCE outcomes with national policy
priorities and the known benefits of PSCE for individuals, our
survey of correctional education administrators reveals that incarcerated persons have limited postsecondary education opportunities, primarily because of federal and state policy choices.
Incarcerated persons are ineligible for nearly all federal and state
need-based financial aid programs; are overwhelmingly enrolled
in vocational and other nonacademic certificate programs; and
are prohibited from taking advantage of Internet-based educational programs and resources. Although the political and moral
rationales for PSCE policies are diverse and complex, the
outcome is that incarcerated persons have few options for
education beyond the secondary level.

16

On the basis of the results and analysis of our survey, we offer
three recommendations to facilitate effective policy innovations
in the area of PSCE. These recommendations are intended to
advance public policy goals of increasing skill and educational
acquisition for incarcerated persons and reducing unsustainably high recidivism rates.
Recommendation 1:
To address capacity challenges limiting access to postsecondary education, federal and state statutes and regulations should be revised to support development and
expansion of Internet-based delivery of postsecondary
education in prisons.

Unlocking Potential: Results of a National Survey of Postsecondary Education in State Prisons

The results of IHEP’s survey indicate that access to postsecondary education in prison systems is dictated in large part by
the ability of these systems to identify appropriate instructors
for vocational and academic coursework; find classroom space
where educational instruction can take place; and identify
funding to support PSCE initiatives. In each area, program
administrators face both logistical and financial challenges.
On the logistical front, CEAs report challenges in identifying and
recruiting instructors; this problem is particularly acute in rural
areas, where local labor markets often cannot support instructor
requirements. Respondents also report difficulties finding classroom space for educational activities. On the financial front,
survey results suggest that limited state support for PSCE is artificially capping enrollment; numerous respondents suggest that
PSCE enrollments are restricted in their prison systems because
of a lack of state funds.
Taken together, these access challenges reflect an overarching
limit in the capacity of state prison systems to provide postsecondary educational opportunity to incarcerated persons. To
address this capacity challenge, postsecondary education initiatives in prisons should emulate the general trends in postsecondary education and move educational content online to
Internet-based platforms.

Allowing Internet-based course delivery would address the three
challenges outlined above. Internet-based instruction allows a
single instructor to deliver educational content to an unlimited
number of incarcerated students across multiple prisons or even
prison systems. Additionally, Internet-based coursework allows
more students to be educated in a reduced space at their own
pace—computer labs can accommodate terminals that allow
students to progress through individualized educational programs
while sharing a physical space; something that is difficult to
accommodate in traditional classroom settings. Finally, the economies of scale of Internet-based instructional methods would
reduce the per-student cost of providing education, allowing state
prison systems to make more efficient use of limited federal and
state financial support.
Moving toward Internet-based delivery of postsecondary education would require significant reforms in relevant statutes and regulations, as well as assurances that security concerns regarding
Internet access in prisons could be adequately addressed. A useful
first step toward designing and implementing such programs
would be to establish a pilot program at the federal or state level.
A pilot program could develop widely acceptable security protocols for Internet access that could serve as a model from which
other prison systems could learn. Funding for a model Internetbased postsecondary correctional education program could be
supplied through federal grant programs or philanthropic entities.

INSTITUTE FOR HIGHER EDUCATION POLICY

17

Recommendation 2:
To increase educational attainment, support economic development, and make efficient use of limited public funding,
postsecondary correctional education programs should be
closely aligned with state postsecondary education systems
and local workforce needs.
Survey results indicate that vocational and certificate programs
permeate postsecondary education in state prison systems. What
is unclear from our results is the extent to which these programs
are aligned with state or local labor market needs. Programs that
enable incarcerated persons to acquire vocational skills are valuable in and of themselves. But because gainful employment is one
predictor of a decreased chance of recidivism (Gaes 2008), PSCE
programs should ensure that the skills are appropriate for state and
local labor markets. Learning vocational skills that are quickly made
obsolete by technological advances or that are irrelevant to local
employment opportunities is a waste of money by funders and
effort by students. Where possible, state policymakers, postsecondary CEAs, and local business interests should align to develop
relevant vocational training programs for state prison systems.

18

Beyond vocational education programs, state postsecondary
education systems could support PSCE by ensuring that
program and course offerings are covered in statewide transfer
and articulation agreements. The overwhelming majority of
PSCE participants do not receive degrees while they are in prison
(in some cases, because of state law), so most PSCE participants
leave prison with vocational or academic credits. Ensuring that
these credits are readily transferable to public state institutions
would send a strong signal of support for PSCE and mark the
beginning of a constructive pathway back into traditional postsecondary education for formerly incarcerated people.
Recommendation 3:
To support increased access to postsecondary education
in prisons, federal and state statutes should be amended to
make specific categories of incarcerated persons eligible
for need-based financial aid.
A glaring conclusion from the survey results and a review of
relevant literature is that incarcerated persons are rarely eligible
for need-based financial aid programs. At the federal level,

Unlocking Potential: Results of a National Survey of Postsecondary Education in State Prisons

policy withholds Pell Grant funding from incarcerated persons,
and state need-based funds are not available on a large scale.
The outcome of these policies is a two-tiered level of access to
postsecondary education. Excluding age, test scores, length of
sentence, and other eligibility requirements, prisoners with
financial means or private support are more likely to be able to
participate, while those from lower-income backgrounds have
fewer educational opportunities.
This differing level of access is counter to postsecondary policy for
the general public, where federal and state need-based aid
programs have been successful in providing at least some educational opportunity to the most financially disadvantaged students
if they meet educational criteria. Current PSCE policy has not
afforded the same benefits to low-income incarcerated persons.
Although there may be legitimate concerns regarding expanding
the population of prisoners eligible for need-based aid funds,
federal and state prison systems employ numerous nonfinancial
eligibility requirements that serve to limit the number of persons

who qualify to enroll in PSCE. Additional eligibility requirements
could be attached to need-based financial aid programs to
control costs and ensure that the aid is reaching students who
are most likely to successfully complete coursework or degree
programs. For instance, eligibility could be limited to first-time
offenders who meet certain time-to-release guidelines. Additionally, aid could be limited to persons who participate in academic
coursework or vocational programs tied directly to post-release
employment opportunities.
Moving forward, policymakers should explore the possibility of
targeting a limited number of need-based financial aid awards to
incarcerated persons who meet a predetermined set of criteria.
Blanket bans on the provision of need-based aid to all prisoners
represent a one-size-fits-all approach to policy that restricts access
to education for some individuals who could benefit greatly from
public support of their educational pursuits. Participation in postsecondary correctional education has been linked to a number of
desirable post-release outcomes. Policymakers should find ways
to leverage established need-based financial aid programs to
induce these outcomes in an increasing number of people.

INSTITUTE FOR HIGHER EDUCATION POLICY

19

Appendix A: Prisoner
Access to Postsecondary
Education Survey
Thank you for taking the “Prisoner Access to Postsecondary
Education” survey for the Institute for Higher Education Policy.
The questions in this survey focus on postsecondary correctional education and aim to understand its funding and organization, as well as gain insight about inmates’ access to
postsecondary education.

Traditional/Academic Coursework is defined as coursework
for college credit that leads to an associate’s degree (e.g., A.A.,
A.S.), a bachelor’s degree (e.g., B.A., B.S.), or a graduate
degree (e.g., M.A., M.S., J.D., Ph.D.).

Name of Person Completing Survey:

Vocational/Certificate Coursework is defined as coursework
for college credit that leads to an applied degree (e.g., A.A.S.)
or a certificate (e.g., certificate in auto mechanics).

Title:

The following six questions focus on facilities:

Organization:

1. How many adult correctional facilities in your state offered
postsecondary education courses or programs during the
2009–10 academic year?

Address:
Telephone:
E-mail:
State:
The following definitions are provided to assist you in answering
the survey questions. Key terms include:
Adult Correctional Facility includes all confinement facilities
administered by federal or state government or by private corporations primarily for federal or state government, which are
intended for adults, but sometimes hold juveniles. This term
includes prisons, penitentiaries, and correctional institutions as
well as state-operated local detention facilities in Alaska,
Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Vermont

2. Please indicate the percentage of postsecondary education
courses or programs offered during the 2009–10 academic
year that are academic courses for college credit, vocational
courses, or some other course type. Percentages should
add up to 100 percent. If exact cannot be provided, please
give your best estimate.
Academic

%

Vocational

%

Other

%

3. P
 lease list the names of the postsecondary educational institutions that provided instruction for any postsecondary education courses or programs offered.

Postsecondary Education is defined as either traditional/
academic or vocational/certificate coursework taken after a
student receives a high school diploma or GED, for which a
student can receive college credit toward a degree.

20

Unlocking Potential: Results of a National Survey of Postsecondary Education in State Prisons

4. What means were used to provide instruction for any postsecondary courses offered? Please check all that apply
On-site instruction
Video/satellite instruction
Internet-based instruction
Correspondence courses
Other (please specify)

Length of incarceration
Length of time to release
Number of infractions while incarcerated
Standardized test scores
Other (please specify)
If you selected other, please specify

If you selected other, please specify

The following eight questions focus on inmates:
Video/satellite instruction

7. What is the total number of inmates who participated in institutionally-recognized postsecondary education courses or
programs in your state during the 2009–10 academic year?

One way
Interactive
Internet-based instruction
One way
Interactive
5. What percentage of your state’s overall adult correctional facilities population is believed to possess either a high school
diploma or GED?
%
6. In addition to possessing either a high school diploma or GED,
what other factors influence inmates’ eligibility to participate in
postsecondary education programs? (Please check all that
apply for all adult correctional facilities in your state, even if eligibility requirements vary among sites or programs)
Inmate’s age
Reason for incarceration

A. Total traditional/academic community
college/associate’s degree level
College or university/
bachelor’s degree level
Graduate school/graduate
or professional degree level
B. Total vocational/certificate
8. Please indicate the number of inmates in your state who
participated in the postsecondary education programs types
listed below during the 2009–10 academic year. This question is only concerned with inmates who took courses leading
to college credit. If exact numbers cannot be provided,
please give your best estimate of the number of inmates who
participated in each of the following programs types.

INSTITUTE FOR HIGHER EDUCATION POLICY

21

9. During the 2009–10 academic year, how many inmates who
fulfilled the eligibility requirements were placed on postsecondary educational programming waitlists or were unable
to participate?

State funding

%

Local funding

%

College or university funding

%

Personal or family finances

%

Graduate degree (e.g., M.A., M.S., Ph.D.)

Private funding (foundation, religious/
community group, individual donation, etc.)

%

Vocational certificate

Other funding source

%

Associate’s degree (e.g., A.A., A.S., A.A.S.)
Bachelor’s degree (e.g., B.A., B.S.)

10. Can inmates in your state be awarded degrees for postsecondary coursework completed while incarcerated? (Please
check one.)
Yes, while incarcerated
Yes, but only after release
No

Please specify private funding source(s):

Please specify other funding source(s):

11. If inmates in your state can be awarded degrees, please
indicate the number of degrees awarded to inmates in the
2009–10 academic year.

12. Does your state have a policy regarding inmate participation
in postsecondary education via correspondence courses?
Yes
No

14. Please use the following spaces to provide any additional
comments about access to postsecondary education for
prisoners in your state. In particular, we would be interested
to know more about the following topics:
What, if any, special funding sources exist to help provide
postsecondary education for prisoners in your state?

What, if any, particular challenges do you face in providing
postsecondary education for prisoners (financial, political,
administrative, logistical, etc.)?

Please describe this policy:

What, if any, innovative means are used to provide access
to postsecondary education for prisoners in your state?
13. Please estimate the percentage of inmates in your state
whose postsecondary education was funded through the
following sources. Percentages should add up to 100
percent. If exact percentages cannot be provided, please
give your best estimate. If you don’t receive funding from
any of these sources, please enter 0 in each box.
Federal Incarcerated Youth Offender Grant

22

%

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey by the
Institute for Higher Education Policy. Your responses are
important and if there is any additional information you
would like to provide, please use the following space or
submit any documents to psce@ihep.org

Unlocking Potential: Results of a National Survey of Postsecondary Education in State Prisons

References

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Reentry Resource Center. Retrieved from http://www.
nationalreentryresourcecenter.org/about/second-chance-act.
Erisman, W., and J. B. Contardo. (2005). Learning to Reduce
Recidivism: A 50-State Analysis of Postsecondary
Correctional Education Policy. Washington, DC: Institute
for Higher Education Policy.
Gaes, G. (2008). The Impact of Prison Education on PostRelease Outcomes. New York: John Jay College of Criminal
Justice. Retrieved June 28, 2010, from http://www.urban.
org/projects/reentry-round-table/upload/Gaes.pdf.

Linton, J. (2009). United States Department of Education
Update. Journal of Correctional Education, 60(2), 92–95.
Meyer, S., L. Fredericks, C. Borden, and P. Richardson. (2010).
“Implementing Postsecondary Academic Programs in
State Prisons: Challenges and Opportunities.” Journal of
Correctional Education, 61(2), 148–183.
National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO). (2009).
State Expenditure Report 2008. Washington, DC: Author.
__________. (2010). State Expenditure Report 2009. Washington,
DC: Author.

Gehring, T. (1997). Post-Secondary Education for Inmates:
An Historical Inquiry. Journal of Correctional Education,
48(2), 46–55.

Nink, C., R. Olding, J. Jorgenson, and M. Gilbert. (2009).
“Expanding Distance Learning Access in Prisons:
A Growing Need.” Corrections Today, 71(4), 40–43.

Harlow, C. W. (2003). Education and Correctional Populations.
Washington, DC: U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Pew Center on the States (2008). One in 100: Behind Bars in
America 2008. Retrieved May 21, 2010, from http://www.
pewcenteronthestates.org/report_detail.aspx?id=35904.

Harrison, P. M., and A. J. Beck. (2006). Prison and Jail
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Langan, P., & Levin, D. (2002). Bureau of Justice Special Report:
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U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Scott-Hayward, C. S. (2009). The Fiscal Crisis in Corrections:
Rethinking Policies and Practices. New York: Vera Institute
for Justice.
Stephan, J. J. (2008). Census of State and Federal Correctional
Facilities, 2005. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of
Justice, U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.

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Tewksbury, R., and J. M. Taylor. (1996). “The Consequences
of Eliminating Pell Grant Eligibility for Students in
Postsecondary.” Federal Probation, 60(3), 60.

Walmsley, R. (2009). World Prison Population List (8th ed.).
London, UK: International Centre for Prison Studies,
King’s College. Retrieved from http://www.kcl.ac.uk/
depsta/law/research/icps/downloads/wppl-8th_41.pdf.

Ubah, C.B.A. (2004). “Abolition of Pell Grants for Higher
Education of Prisoners: Examining Antecedents and
Consequences.” Journal of Offender Rehabilitation,
39(2), 73–85. doi:10.1 300/J076v39n02_05.

Welsh, M. (2002). “The Effects of the Elimination of Pell Grant
Eligibility for State Prison Inmates.” Journal of Correctional
Education, 53(4), 154–158.

U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). (2009). Recidivism:
Summary Findings. Retrieved October 16, 2010, from
http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=17.

West, H. C. (2010). Prison Inmates at Midyear 2009—Statistical
Tables. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, U.S.
Bureau of Justice Statistics.

U.S. Department of Education. (2009). Partnerships Between
Community Colleges and Prisons: Providing Workforce
education and Training to Reduce Recidivism. Washington,
DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Adult and
Vocational Education. Retrieved June 10, 2010, from http://
www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/resource/index.html.

Winterfield, L., M. Coggeshall, M. Burke-Storer, V. Correa, and
S. Tidd. (2009). The Effects of Postsecondary Correctional
Education. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.
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_______________. (2010) Department of Education Fiscal Year
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ed.gov/offices/OUS/Archives/archive.html.

24

Unlocking Potential: Results of a National Survey of Postsecondary Education in State Prisons

The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) is an independent, nonprofit organization that is dedicated to access and success in
postsecondary education around the world. Established in 1993, the Washington, D.C.-based organization uses unique research and innovative
programs to inform key decision makers who shape public policy and support economic and social development. IHEP’s Web site, www.ihep.org,
features an expansive collection of higher education information available free of charge and provides access to some of the most respected
professionals in the fields of public policy and research.
Institute for Higher Education Policy

1320 19th Street, NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036

202 861 8223 	TELEPHONE
202 861 9307 	FACSIMILE
www.ihep.org 	Web

Institute for Higher Education Policy

1320 19th Street, NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036
202 861 8223 	TELEPHONE
202 861 9307 	FACSIMILE
www.ihep.org 	Web

 

 

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