New Scholarship Program for Prisoners Headed to College

TTEFAs founders of a new and unique endeavor, we welcome you to the Transcending Through Education Foundation (TTEF). We have come together to create TTEF to help reverse the school-to-prison pipeline and establish the prison-to-school pipeline, We will provide financial scholarships and other support services for men and women, including juveniles, in prison (or transitioning out of prison) who are pursuing higher education. TTEF will initially begin in Rhode Island, our home state, and then seek to expand as our resources allow.

Among the compelling reasons we founded TTEF are because:

  • We want to help fulfill an unmet need. College financial aid for men and women in prison, and those transitioning out of prison, are scarce. Notably, Congress banned Pell Grant eligibility for people in prison in 1994. TTEF will help those who face these struggles by providing them with funding and mentors in support of their education.
  • Recidivism rates are significantly lower for people who pursue an education, particularly a college-level education. For example, the national rate of re-incarceration across the United States is 43%, but 0% of inmates who completed the Hudson Link college education program offered in New York’s Sing Sing Correctional Facility returned to prison. The documentary film “Zero Percent,” profiling Hudson Link, is an inspiring portrayal of what a strong educational program for inmates can accomplish. Of course, the tax savings when people do not return prison are significant, but just as important is the strengthening of communities when former inmates return as educated individuals who are able to raise strong families and be solid neighbors.
  • Providing educational opportunities to prisoners creates economic benefits for everyone. In Rhode Island, it costs $49,133 per year to incarcerate one person. By supporting those who pursue an education, Rhode Islanders will be able to shift resources from incarceration to other pressing needs. Moreover, educated individuals are more likely to obtain gainful employment, which is particularly challenging in a tough economy—and especially trying with a criminal record.

From just these three reasons, among many more, supporting TTEF’s work is clearly a win-win proposition.

We also have personal reasons for establishing TTEF. We all began our respective educational journeys inside of prison. Therefore, we know and understand the transformative powers of education first-hand. Because of our education, today we find ourselves fortunate to be in the position to pay it forward. We are excited to do so, and encourage you to join us.

In the beginning, our goals will be modest. We will give between one and three scholarships, worth up to $1,000 dollars each, to Rhode Island inmates or recently released inmates pursuing a higher education. We will also provide support services to our scholars to help them chart their own educational journey. As our resources increase, our scholarships and services will also increase. To that end, we encourage you to visit our website and make a tax-deductible donation at www.transcendingthrougheducation.org.

We are currently recruiting other candidates to our Board of Directors and Advisory Board, and we will introduce them shortly.

Please subscribe to our blog to get important updates. On here, we will highlight personal stories, policy initiatives, and economic data that relate to our vision and mission of supporting the education of inmates and former inmates. We will also discuss education for underprivileged men and women in the United States more broadly. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

We hope you will support this project and join the discussion. Regardless of one’s views on the criminal justice and education systems, we firmly believe that our end goals are the same: better educated citizens means a better society for everyone.

We invite you to visit our website at www.transcendingthrougheducation.org to learn more about TTEF. You may contact us at info@transcendingthrougheducation.org.

Best,

Andres Idarraga, President

Noah Kilroy, Secretary

Bruce Reilly, Treasurer

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16 thoughts on “New Scholarship Program for Prisoners Headed to College

  1. Pingback: New Scholarship Program to Reverse School-to-Prison Pipeline | unprison

  2. Pingback: ~ New Scholarship Program for Prisoners Headed to College ~ « Collective Sun

  3. Trying to find away for my husband who is in federal prison to take college courses and get help doing it, any body that can help me with this PLEASE do so!

  4. Hi Bruce, Andres, and Noah. This is James Monteiro from providence RI. I am currently working closely with Dennis Littky in Providence RI to try and connect the College Unbound Program to Prisoners who are in the ACI. College Unbound has been instrumental in the transformation of my life and i would like very much to be able to provide this opportunity to other inmates who are looking to do the same. I recently spoke at a Lumina Conference held in Kentucky and we have received financial support for our program for next year with a promise of additional funding in years to come in order to scale. If there is any guidance, support, or information that you may be able to provide me with that could help with this initiative it would be greatly appreciated. Looking for all the help i can get to make this happen. Thanks! James

  5. Do you know of anything available to prisoners in texas? Im trying to gather info to help my brother who is to be released hopefully at the end of this year.

  6. Hello, I am a prisoner in Virginia and I have completed my associates degree already. I am taking one class through Adams State, but I am having trouble finding money to complete my bachelor’s degree. I am an excellent student and I am just trying to continue to make positive steps toward changing my future. Please let me know of any scholarships that are available in my area. Thank you.

    • Hi David, right now we are looking to expand into Louisiana, Florida and Massachusetts. Its important for us to have relationships with people in the area, as mentorships is an important part of our approach. Check out the President’s new proposal to expand Pell Grant eligibility, and encourage your fellows inside to write their Congressional reps to support this move. As for distance learning that some of our scholars have found successful, you might look into Adams State College. An organization we know in Virginia doing solid work with/for incarcerated and released people is http://www.rihd.org.

  7. Hello, I wanted to know of you knew of any scholarships or grants for prisoners in Virginia. My brother is incarcerated and he has already received his Associate’s degree and would like to continue his education at Adams State. He is looking for any resources that could help him find the funding he needs to allow him to complete his degree. If you have any information, I would greatly appreciate it.

    • Hi Porsha, right now we are looking to expand into Louisiana, Florida and Massachusetts. Its important for us to have relationships with people in the area, as mentorships is an important part of our approach. Please let your brother know about the President’s new proposal to expand Pell Grant eligibility, and encourage him (and his fellows inside) to write their Congressional reps to support this move. As for distance learning that some of our scholars have found successful, you might look into Adams State College. An organization we know in Virginia doing solid work with/for incarcerated and released people is http://www.rihd.org.

  8. I am looking for any help for my son who is incarcerated in Burlington co. He wants to continue his education, problem being the ones I have found are so expensive. Being a single mom of three other children putting money on his books is hard enough for me. As I want to help as much as I can any suggestions or grants I can apply for him for his education?

    • Hi Jodi, right now we are looking to expand into Louisiana, Florida and Massachusetts. Its important for us to have relationships with people in the area, as mentorships is an important part of our approach. Please let your brother know about the President’s new proposal to expand Pell Grant eligibility, and encourage him (and his fellows inside) to write their Congressional reps to support this move. As for distance learning that some of our scholars have found successful, you might look into Adams State College.

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