View the latest College Initiative graduation video here. In 2019, 31 students in the College Initiative community earned post-secondary degrees, including AAs, BAs, MSWs, one PhD and one JD.
Creating Pathways from Criminal Justice Involvement to College and beyond
College Initiative (CI), a PRI Educational Initiative, helps make the college dreams of formerly incarcerated and court-involved men and women a reality by providing the guidance and practical assistance they need to enroll in college and succeed there.
CI has made college completion a reality for almost 300 students by building a set of programs, relationships, tools and strategies that empower them as learners, peer mentors and transformative leaders and allow them to negotiate individual, social, and institutional barriers. We do this through three interdependent spheres: (1) engagement; (2) access; and (3) holistic and ongoing support for academic success.
- Engagement begins with helping a student overcome the assumption that college is beyond them by laying out a clear path to degree completion and embracing an affirmative vision that allows a shift in their identity.
- Access encompasses student assessment, academic counseling, and CI’s college bridge programming, enabling students to navigate the pervasive bureaucratic and financial barriers to entry into college.
- Support work provides the continuum of resources and relationships necessary to enable students to persist and thrive in college and to withstand the inevitable pressures and challenges along the way. Our primary support strategy is our nationally recognized peer mentoring program.
If you’re interested in getting started with CI, click here.
OUR STUDENT SERVICES
CI takes a multidimensional approach to supporting students both pre-release, during the application process and, once enrolled, in college.
- Through Outreach and Public Education…
CI helps people see college as an option.
- College Initiative conducts college information and readiness workshops and seminars inside correctional facilities and at community-based organizations to encourage the pursuit of higher education among individuals preparing for or already engaged in the reentry process.
- Prospective students receive a college toolkit that includes information on CUNY and SUNY schools, financial aid, information on CUNY’s extensive support programs, and an outline of next steps.
- Through these outreach activities, CI helps to demystify the college experience and application process and show how college can fit into a student’s personal strategy for community reentry.
Through Academic Counseling and Support…
CI helps people go to college and succeed there.
- CI Academic Counselors are on the front lines of student support, there to assist every step of the way.
- Academic Counselors can help students set academic and employment goals, choose a campus and field of study, and complete enrollment and financial aid applications.
- Through working with Academic Counselors, students develop self-advocacy skills both inside and outside the classroom.
Through the facilitation of Peer Mentoring…
CI develops leaders, creates student networks, and builds community.
- CI Peer Mentors are active senior students and alumni with exceptional grades who have been paired with first-year students just beginning their college journey.
- Mentors complete a comprehensive training program that focuses on interpersonal skill and leadership development.
- Participation in mentoring has been proven to increase first-to-second year retention of CI students.
College Initiative supports hundreds of students at 24 campuses
across the five boroughs
Baruch College | BMCC | Bronx Community College | Brooklyn College
City College | College of Staten Island | Columbia University | CUNY Graduate Center CUNY Law School | Fordham University | Hostos Community College
Hunter College | John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Kingsborough Community College | LaGuardia Community College
Lehman College | Medgar Evers College | NYC College of Technology
New York University | School of Professional Studies | Queens College |Queensborough Community College | St. Francis College | York College