By Zack Rogow August 20, 2013
CIIS has initiated a drive to raise funds for ten scholarships for formerly incarcerated men and women to complete their bachelor of arts degrees. “Providing meaningful opportunities for those who have left the prison system is a crucial priority for our society, and for our university,” says CIIS President Joseph L. Subbiondo. “At a time when U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. is saying our prisons are ‘outsized and unnecessarily large,’ this is particularly vital.” The initial goal of the drive is $200,000 to offer funding for the first ten students.
The scholarships will allow the students to attend the CIIS Bachelor of Arts Completion program to finish degrees in interdisciplinary studies. “To receive the scholarships, applicants must have completed two years of undergraduate work,” explains Sonya Shah, CIIS core faculty member who has worked extensively in education inside prisons. “The students selected for the scholarships will be applicants who show a strong desire to finish their bachelor’s degree and to contribute to the community,” Shah elaborates.
The CIIS Bachelor of Arts Completion program is uniquely positioned to welcome and graduate these students. “Our BAC program places great emphasis on community support, relationship building, and collaborative learning,” highlights Michelle Eng, director of the School of Undergraduate Studies at CIIS. “The BA Completion program’s orientation toward social justice, critical thinking, and personal transformation is a great fit for formerly incarcerated students.”
CIIS also has an impressive track record of graduating students finishing their BA degrees. The average two-year graduation rate for cohorts beginning in 2007–2009 (fall semesters) is 82.01%. In comparison, the California State University system average graduation rate for upper-division transfer students is 64.6% in four years . Since 1994, CIIS has graduated more 750 students in the BAC program.
“We’re hoping to find donors who understand the pressing need in our country for ways for the formerly incarcerated to start their lives over,” says President Subbiondo. “Through the generosity of these funders, and through the students’ own passion for self-improvement and for making a difference for others, this program will become a model.”
To make a tax-deductible donation to the scholarship fund for formerly incarcerated men and women, you can call CIIS Director of Development Dorotea Reyna at 415.575.6135, or donate by check. Please make your check payable to CIIS and write BAC ARC OF JUSTICE SCHOLARSHIPS in the “For” or “Memo” field. Please mail donations to:
Director of Development
California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco CA 94103