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Cayuga, other NY colleges get $1.5M grant to boost prison education programs | Politics

A partnership between the State University of New York and the Mellon Foundation will expand educational opportunities for incarcerated individuals in state prisons. 

The foundation’s three-year, $1.5 million grant will help SUNY campuses, including Cayuga Community College, develop prison education programs and increase the number of facilities served from 20 to 30. 

Cayuga Community College is one of 13 SUNY schools that offer college programs in state prisons. Cayuga partners with the Cornell Prison Education Program, which operates in four prisons — Auburn, Cayuga, Elmira and Five Points correctional facilities. 

According to SUNY, it is the state’s largest provider of college-in-programs. There are 700 students enrolled in programs at 20 state correctional facilities and one federal prison. But the number of incarcerated individuals who participate in the programs is small — 4.3% this year. 

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A team at SUNY, Higher Education for the Justice-Involved, will help campuses expand educational programming and collect certain data, such as post-release employment and wages, to determine how to improve student outcomes. 

“Access to higher education is an essential part of the journey for individuals who have been or are currently incarcerated to make a new start and succeed in the long term,” SUNY Interim Chancellor Deborah Stanley said. “I applaud our dedicated faculty and staff for bringing academic programs and support to incarcerated individuals.” 

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