Education for prisoners is at their own expense through distance education courses or studies completed through U.S. mail.
While the case for prison education is clear, with many proven benefits for prisoners, their family, the community and the overall economy, over the past 20 years the U.S. has cut funding for prison education, beginning with Congress passing the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act in 1994 (Read More about the controversial history of prison education).
In the summer of 2015, the Obama administration temporarily re-instated the Pell Grants, a financial entitlement for students with financial needs. These grants may be available for U.S. prisoners if legislation permits. Read more about the Pell Grants.
Aside from this recent funding addition, the only education for prisoners beyond the high school equivalency level (GED) is at their own expense through distance education courses or studies completed through the U.S. Mail.
While program offerings aren’t ideal, correspondence education programs do have benefits. All levels of study and courses are available, from high school to business administration, ministerial, and even law.
While we can’t help with funding, we can point American prisoners and their families to accessible inmate education programs. Below are links to information and recommended programs for prisoners at different levels.
Education for Prisoners
- GED and high school diploma programs
- Adult Continuing Education (ACE) programs
- Undergraduate degree programs
- Career and vocational courses
- Graduate degree programs
- Religious-oriented college programs
- Fee-based Bible study programs
- Free Bible studies
- In-prison educational programs
Our Favorite Correspondence Programs
Distance learning can be difficult for prisoners to obtain. This page includes a list of our favorite correspondence schools that offer paper-based programs.
With no access to the internet, distance learning can be difficult for prisoners to obtain. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite correspondence schools that offer paper-based formats that are accessible to prisoners.
High School Diploma
The following schools offer High School Diploma and/or GED programs for prisoners:
The following schools offer undergraduate programs with a wide variety of courses available:
Graduate Correspondence Programs for Prisoners
- Adams State University
- American Graduate University
- California Coast University
- California Miramar University
- Colorado State University-Pueblo
- Huntington College of Health Sciences
- Louisiana State University
- Ohio University
- Perelandra College Graduate Studies
- Southwest University Graduate Studies
- University of Idaho Graduate Studies
- University of Northern Iowa Graduate Studies