College & university academic degrees

If you have the desire, time, and financial resources to explore a wider range of academic subjects and skills, you may want to pursue a college degree. In college you can study a diverse range of topics, instead of focusing only on the skills you need for one type of job; and you can develop a broad foundation of writing and critical thinking skills to sharpen your mind and prepare you for a wide variety of careers.[2846] A college degree also may help you qualify for more secure, higher-status, and better-paying jobs.[2847]

If you’re currently incarcerated:

You likely do not have access to in-person college programs, but you may be able to pursue a college degree through Distance Education. (See PG. 876 for information on Distance Education programs.)

If you’re formerly incarcerated:

You can pursue a college degree at a community or junior college, a technical school, or 4-year college or university. While college can be expensive,[2848] there are ways to reduce and supplement the expense (see Paying for College, PG. 881).[2849]

  1. 2846

    In addition, attending college can allow you develop social connections with peers and teachers, which can be personally enriching and professionally useful. See Why Go to College?,,

  2. 2847

    See Fed. Bureau of Labor Statistics, High Wages After High School—Without a Bachelor’s Degree, Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Summer 2012,; U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, The 2004-14 Job Outlook for People Who Don’t Have a Bachelor’s Degree, Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Fall 2006; Adam Ozimek, Should Everyone Go to College? (May 29, 2014),; but see Data on Display: Education Still Pays, Fed. Bureau of Labor Statistics,

  3. 2848

    See Dale J. Stephens, Do You Really Have to Go to College? New York Times (Mar. 7, 2013),; but see Why Students Don’t Go to College,,

  4. 2849

    See Fed. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Paying for College: Strategies to Afford Higher Education Today, Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Spring 2013,