Oklahoma Colleges And Universities Offering Educational Opportunities For Incarcerated Students

With several Oklahoma institutions offering college courses to incarcerated students, coupled with them now being able to apply for financial aid, a state nonprofit said education can help reduce the number of reoffenders.

Monday, July 8th 2024, 5:33 am



Over a year since an Oklahoma bill was signed to provide federal financial aid to incarcerated students, nine institutions are currently offering college courses.

The Hope Institute for Prison Education said major progress is being made, with those nine institutions offering college courses in about 20 Oklahoma facilities, and with incarcerated students now being able to apply for financial aid.

A few of the noteworthy schools currently offering prison education programs are Rose State College, Oklahoma Baptist University, Oklahoma Christian University, and Langston University.

Jeff McCormack, a native Oklahoman and founder of the Hope Institute for Prison Education, said education for incarcerated students is a great investment, as just a few courses can reduce reoffending rates.

McCormack said he’s seen several examples of how these college courses in correctional facilities have changed lives for the better and shared an example of an incarcerated student familiar with his works.

"She got tears in her eyes, and she said you 'mean I can be a college student?'" McCormack said. "She said 'Listen, I'm doing my homework, so you better be doing your homework.' It changes the families as well."

McCormack said it is only going up from here, as several other institutions are interested in creating prison education programs in the near future.

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