Higher Education in Prison Program
Higher Education in Prison Program
Contact Prison Education & Apprenticeship Program Director Deb Conrad, office phone: 775-445-3302 and mobile: 775-990-5067Contact Via Email
Western Nevada College (WNC) and its Higher Education in Prison Program (HEPP) are committed to providing equitable access to higher education, workforce education and continuing education for the under-served population of incarcerated people at Nevada Department of Corrections' facilities in our region to increase the probability the students will earn a living wage and contribute positively to their families and communities upon release; provide opportunities for enrichment, professional development, or skill development regardless of age sentence length or conviction. WNC’s HEPP mirrors the vision, values, and mission of the college. As of Fall 2023, WNC serves approximately 100 incarcerated students.
WNC is currently participating in Jobs for the Future's Center for Justice and Economic Advancement PEP CTE Accelerator Network two-year project to help refine, expand and launch new CTE programs in the prison.
Programs and Sites Served
WNC offers the following Degrees, Certificates of Achievement, and Skills Certificates:
- Associate of Arts (NNCC)
- Associate of General Studies (NNCC)
- Certificate of Achievement, Welding (NNCC)
- Associate of Applied Science, Welding (NNCC)
- Manufacturing Technician Skills Certificate (SCC)
- Certificate of Achievement, Automotive Mechanics (NNCC)
All programs offered are equal in rigor and staffing to any other program the college offers. All programs can be completed while the students are still incarcerated. Students can also continue their education with us or the other NSHE institutions after their release.
WNC would not be able to offer these courses without the dedicated support of Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) administration at all levels, including those working on the ground at each correctional center. Staff at NNCC and SCC have gone above and beyond to ensure our instructors have access to classrooms and administrators have the ability to meet with students for advising, enrollment, and graduation ceremonies.
WNC and Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) are partnering to develop a seamless transition for students taking classes with WNC on the inside to working with TMCC reentry staff as students near their release date. TMCC helps formerly incarcerated students connect to organizations and services they need, to information about continuing their education, and to potential employers. Education on the inside and reintegration on the outside go hand-in-hand.
- State: WNC received state funding starting in FY20 to support the expansion of the HEPP. (Student eligibility based on parole or expiration date)
- Private Donors and Correctional Center Fundraisers: The WNC Foundation manages the funds from private donors and fundraisers that help support the program. (Student eligibility is open, funds are limited)
- Self-Pay/Family Pay: WNC accepts self-pay/family-pay to allow students to take additional classes, or to allow students who have not qualified for other funds to take classes
- Pell Grants: The US Department of Education released its application for Prison Education Programs to receive approval to offer Pell grants to incarcerated students. WNC and NDOC are currently working to finalize the requirements to submit the application for approval to the Department of Education. It is anticipated that by the Fall 2024 semester, incarcerated students will be able to apply for Pell grants.
HEPP was reinstated at WSCC in the 2015-2016 academic year with a small cohort of incarcerated veterans who were supported by funds from a private donor and fundraisers organized by students inside. The program had been dormant since 2008 due to the Great Recession and the elimination of Pell grant eligibility for incarcerated people. By the spring of 2018, HEPP was reinstated at NNCC as well with a small cohort of students pursuing an Associate of Applied Science in Welding. In the spring of 2023 WNC brought the Manufacturing Technician Skills Certificate pathway to Stewart Conservation Camp. The first group of students to pursue the Automotive Mechanics Certificate of Achievement while incarcerated began in the fall of 2023.
In the News
- KTVN: Incarcerated Students Prepare for Release with Auto Program
- Carson Now: New Automotive Program at NNCC
- Nevada Appeal: Partnership Creates Auto Program
- Conrad Serves on Panel Discussing Role of CTE for People with Records
- Manufacturing Technician Program Launched at Stewart Camp
- WNC Student goes from Prison to Business Ownership
- Social Justice Award Nevada Appeal
- Western Connection Podcast, KNVC, March 12, 2020 Episode
- Truckee Meadows Community College Re-Entry Center
- Northern Nevada Correctional Center
- Alliance for Higher Education in Prison
- Bureau of Justice Statistics
Cedar Building, Room 302a
2201 West College Parkway, Carson City, NV 89703