Higher Education in Prison Program

Contact Prison Education & Apprenticeship Program Director Deb Conrad, office phone: 775-445-3302 and mobile: 775-990-5067

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WNC's Higher Education in Prison Program (HEPP) provides access to higher education and workforce education for the under-served population of incarcerated men at Northern Nevada Correctional Center. HEPP's vision follows the college's vision: To be an integral and innovative educational partner fostering equity and a life of learning in an inclusive environment for the evolving, diverse communities we serve. The program strives to be student-centered, inquiry-driven, and data-informed, and to provide effective educational pathways for students. Investments in higher education in prison help provide hope for a second chance in life, reduce recidivism, and help break the cycle of poverty. As of Spring 2023, WNC serves approximately 100 students at NNCC.

WNC's HEPP was awarded the 2020 Social Justice Award at the inaugural Celebrating Social Work Leaders event hosted by the UNR School of Social Work.


WNC offers an Associate of Arts transfer degree, an Associate of General Studies degree and a Certificate of Achievement or Associate of Applied Science, Welding degree at 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.

Future Plans


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 WSCC and NNCC 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.



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.

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Cedar Building, Room 302a

2201 West College Parkway, Carson City, NV 89703