Post-secondary education courses include college-level coursework offered to inmate-students through the Voluntary Education Program. The Division of Rehabilitative Program’s Office of Correctional Education, in collaboration with various community colleges and a partnership with the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, offers inmate-students opportunities to enroll in college courses that are nationally or regionally accredited in accordance with the United States Department of Education. Courses may be available via face-to-face instruction or correspondence coursework from accredited agencies.
Currently, various community colleges provide face-to-face college courses in 34 institutions. These college courses are non-remedial and lead to a degree in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding established between the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the California Community College serving in that geographical location. During spring and fall semesters, the number of inmate-students enrolled in face-to-face college programs can reach or exceed 4,500 students on average.
College courses are also provided to inmate-students via correspondence program by 25+ different colleges. Throughout the year, over 7,000 inmate-students on average are enrolled in a correspondence college program.
Inmate-students are responsible for tuition, fees, textbooks, and materials associated with college course enrollment. Inmate-students may be eligible for a tuition fee waiver through the California College Promise Grant that covers tuition for every low-income student in the state’s community colleges, including those who are incarcerated.
Inmate-students may be eligible to earn Milestone Completion Credit(s) and Education Merit Credit in accordance with the California Code of Regulations Title 15.
Post-secondary education is available at all institutions with the exception of the California Health Care Facility, and Correspondence College exists at all 35 institutions.
Post-secondary education assignments and enrollments may vary. Inmate-students’ progress at their own pace.
Enrollment in post-secondary education is voluntary. Inmate-students must have earned their High School Diploma or Equivalency and be enrolled in courses that are non-remedial and lead to a post-secondary degree.