Formerly Incarcerated Students

Back to School: A guide to continuing your education after being incarcerated

Welcome! By clicking on this web site you have already taken an important step towards continuing your education. Going back to school will require hard work and dedication. The process will be both challenging and frustrating. But if you stick with it, continuing your education can bring you tremendous rewards, including:

  • The pride that comes with gaining new skills and knowledge.
  • The satisfaction of being able to support yourself and your family.
  • The opportunity to surround yourself with other people who are expanding their minds, planning their futures, and working to improved their lives.
  • The capacity to set a positive example for your family and friends and become a leader in your community.

Earning a General Education Development credential (GED), career technical certificate, or college degree will make you a better job applicant, increase the amount of money you can earn, and improve your chances of getting a promotion. Learning new skills, gaining knowledge and making contacts can bring new opportunities and help you shape a vision of your future that may have seemed out of reach before.

Take a look at these statistics on earning and employment from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the third quarter of 2010:


Unemployment Rate

Median Weekly Earnings

Less than a high school diploma



High School Diploma



Associate’s Degree



Bachelor’s Degree



Several documents are important to have in hand as you continue your education, apply for jobs, and access other services. These documents include:

  • Social security card
  • Birth certificate
  • Reference lists and letters
  • GED certificate/high school diploma/college transcripts
  • Resume
  • State Identification (ID) card/Driver License

Flow Chart Steps

Wherever you start, the idea of going back to school can be intimidating. It may have been years since you set foot in a classroom and you may be worried about juggling the responsibilities of a job, school, and family. Throughout the process of going back to school, it is important to remember you are not alone. In fact, over 18% of adults have not finished high school or earned a GED and, in the year 2010, over 70% of college students were financially independent, working full-time, and/or responsible for a child (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Make the decision to enroll in school with your eyes open to the challenges you will face. Working towards a certificate or degree required planning, hard work, and dedication. Remember, you earn an education.