Continuing Your Education
Your first challenge, of course, will be to get your bearings. As you know, the Internet is a wonderful source of information.
Resources for Former Prisoners
If you were a fully matriculated student in the Boston University Prison Education Program while incarcerated, you are a fully matriculated Boston University student upon your release. If you graduated from the BU Prison Education Program while incarcerated, you are a full-fledged graduate of Boston University. In other words, there is no distinction in your status because you attended BU while in prison. Now that you are no longer in prison, you are eligible for all the rights and privileges of any other BU student or graduate.
Please let the Prison Education Program staff know when you are released and please keep in touch. Your first step in continuing your education should be to contact the BU Prison Education Program office. Your second step should be to contact the Office of Undergraduate Student Services at Metropolitan College. They can suggest the most efficient way for you to pursue the credits you need to graduate. While their focus is on service to undergraduates, you should go see them if you've graduated while incarcerated and if you have questions about graduate school. The Office of Undergraduate Student Services is very welcoming to Prison Education students who have been released. All BU Offices can be accessed on the Green B line of the MBTA.
When our students leave prison, they are sometimes overwhelmed. After years of being controlled by a schedule not their own, freedom can be daunting and confusing. Many support groups in the community serve as a "touchstone" for men and women who have been in prison, and are now rebuilding their lives on the outside. A few of them are listed below.
It is important that students continue learning, even after their time with the Prison Education Program has come to an end. We hope that students who are released before they graduate will continue their studies and complete their bachelor’s degree. Those who are released after having completed their undergraduate work may wish to consider graduate school.
As an enrolled Boston University student, it is possible to continue on-campus as a returning student in the following semester. A student may chose to continue in BU after a semester-long break. Of course, BU may not be the most practical option, geographically or financially, but BU credits can be transferred to other institutions.
We urge students to research options and to continue their pursuit of higher education. Below are a few sites that may be helpful in exploring various opportunities. The Prison Education Program’s contact information is also listed below—please feel free to contact the University at any time.
If you live in Massachusetts and decide that one of the Massachusetts state colleges and universities is a more practical option for you, you might wish to visit the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education website.
In order to apply for financial aid, you must fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and some schools require a PROFILE, as well. Both of these forms are available at the websites linked above. Their purpose is to help the school determine an applicant’s financial need.
A general overview of financial aid terms and types of aid is available from the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), which hosts annual college fairs in Boston. Visit www.nacacnet.org to learn more.
We know that Prison Education students develop an understandable attachment to Boston University and want to graduate from the school that has given them so much. And rightly so: Boston University is among the finest and most highly esteemed in the region. However, for someone just out of prison, tuition can be a significant hurdle.
It is important to the Prison Education Program that you finish your degree, but it may not be possible for you to do so at Boston University, because of the financial burden. Some students do manage to put together a financial aid package, but at this time, there is no financial aid program specifically geared toward former BU Prison Education students.
Financial aid to attend Metropolitan College is limited to students who take a full load (three courses taken on weekday evenings); those who wish to transfer to BU’s College of Arts & Sciences must enroll fulltime four courses taken during the day—to qualify for financial aid. Visit the financial aid section on the Metropolitan College website for more information.
Furthermore, Boston University, while located conveniently on the Green Line in Boston, may be too far from the area to which you are returning. For this reason, and financial ones, you should explore other possibilities – more economical, and/or geographically feasible ones. Your BU credits will generally transfer to any other liberal arts program, so you should not let geography or the cost of tuition keep you from graduating with a bachelor’s degree, or from pursuing an advanced degree.