Formerly Incarcerated College Graduates

Formerly Incarcerated College Graduates

Formerly Incarcerated College Graduates

Have you ever considered trying to earn a college degree? Do you worry that it may not make sense because of your criminal convictions?

Many people worry that going to college may be a waste of time and money because their felony will hold them back. The truth is that the further you go with education the more opportunities you will have, regardless of your past.

A study by Emery University found that:

  • Ex-offenders who complete some high school courses have recidivism rates around 55 percent.
  • Vocational training cut recidivism to approximately 30 percent.
  • An associate degree drops the rate to 13.7 percent.
  • A bachelor’s degree reduces it to 5.6 percent.
  • A master’s brings recidivism to nearly 0 percent.

I am a member of an awesome Facebook group, “Formerly Incarcerated College Graduates Network” which has over 1,700 active members. In this group, I posed the questions, “What degree did you earn and what is your current job?”. Here are a few of the 150+ response I received.

  • T. Williams: AS in business administration and AA in economics. Currently working on a BS in Business administration with a double concentration in management and operations &supply chain, minor in Economics. I’m currently a partnerships assistant and community outreach/ university liaison for a nonprofit, as well as a receptionist.


  • M. Luke: Master’s In Urban Ministry from NYTS and I work for Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison, also preach for the Presbyterian Church and design and install prison computer labs.



  • B. Schrader: BA Business Administration. Regional Operations Manager for large transportation vendor. Currently applying for law school.

Like myself, these individuals have had challenging pasts and utilized higher education to redefine themselves while dramatically reducing their chances of returning to prison and increasing their career opportunities. These are just for of over 100 people who the short version of their success story.

If you are considering pursuing higher education, know that it is very possible and that you are not alone.

Here is the link to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid: