This EDUCATION CHAPTER explains the different options available for pursuing your education whether you are currently incarcerated, preparing for your release or are formerly incarcerated. It also explains the options of student aid and funding in order to pursue your educational goals.

DISCLAIMER – YOUR RESPONSIBILITY WHEN USING THIS GUIDE: When putting together the Roadmap to Reentry: A California Legal Guide, we did our best to give you useful and accurate information. However, the laws change frequently and are subject to differing interpretations. We do not always have the resources to make changes to this informational material every time the law changes. If you use information from the Roadmap to Reentry legal guide, it is your responsibility to make sure that the law has not changed and applies to your particular situation. If you are incarcerated, most of the materials you need should be available in your institution’s law library. The Roadmap to Reentry guide is not intending to give legal advice, but rather legal information. No attorney-client relationship is created by using any information in this guide. You should always consult your own attorney if you need legal advice specific to your situation.

What will I learn in the education chapter?

    The different educational optionsHow to set up your educational goalsHow to assess your current educational levelThe different educational levels/programs and what you need to pursue themHow your incarceration and criminal record might affect your educational goalsOptions to pay for your education

IMPORTANT: Root & Rebound has created a new toolkit, “My Education, My Freedom,” for currently or formerly incarcerated people and people with arrest and conviction histories who are actively pursuing their education (meaning you are either enrolling in school or already enrolled). To learn more and request a copy, please tell us more about your educational plans by writing us at Root & Rebound, 1730 Franklin Street, Suite 300, Oakland, CA 94612, calling us at 510-279-4662, or sending us an email at [email protected].


    1. Questions to start with

    2. Practical tips for Applying to School


    1. Creating a strong plan for your personal educational journey

    2. How your criminal record and incarceration may affect your educational goals

    3. How to choose the educational path that meets your specific educational goals


    1. What is an “educational assessment”? Why do I need one?
    2. How do I get an educational assessment?
    3. Where do I go for a placement test?
    4. Learning challenges and special needs


    1. Adult Basic Education (ABE)

    2. High School Credentials

    3. Higher education overview

    4. Career & Technical Education (CTE) Programs

    5. College & university academic degrees

    6. Applying to college

    7. Earning & transferring college credits—good options if you are incarcerated

    8. Graduate academic and professional degree programs

  5. Paying for your education

    1. How will I pay for my education?
    2. What is financial aid?
    3. What kinds of financial aid are there?
    4. Where does financial aid come from?
    5. Federal Student Aid

    6. California State Student Aid

    7. School-Based Financial Aid

    8. Scholarships

  6. Conclusion


    1. List of community service organizations offering programs to improve reading and writing skills around California
    2. List of Organizations that Provide GED Materials to Currently Incarcerated People
    3. Policies for ACT Testing
    4. Correspondence Courses Available to Incarcerated Individuals
    5. More Information about Eligibility for Federal Student Aid and Drug Convictions
    6. Sample version of the 2015-2016Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA)
    7. Cal Grant Eligibility (California Education Code section 69422.8 (Text)
    8. Student Eligibility for the California College Promise Grant (formerly known as the Board of Governors Fee Waiver)
    9. California College Promise Grant Application (formerly known as the Board of Governor’s Fee Waiver)
    10. Vera Institute Fact Sheet on Building Effective Partnerships for High-Quality Postsecondary Education in Correctional Facilities