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Columbia College To Expand Offerings For SCC Inmates

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Columbia, CA — $408,000 in new state revenue is coming to Columbia College to expand the classes and services it offers to inmates at the Sierra Conservation Center and its prison camps.

The funding is from Assembly Bill 417, and awarded via the state’s Rising Scholars Network, a new program within the California Community College system. It will allow Columbia College to offer a wider variety of face-to-face classes, and related support services, to incarcerated individuals.  The grant money spans three years.

Columbia and SCC started a pilot program in 2015 that offered two general education classes at the prison. It has since grown to serve over 250 students per semester, and they typically enroll in multiple classes per term.

Columbia College President, Dr. Lena Tran, says, “Our goal with the Rising Scholars Grant is to help more incarcerated students to complete college certificates and degrees so they can be better prepared to re-enter the community and support themselves and their families once they are released.”

The money will allow Columbia to hire additional instructors, expand instructor training, and provide more direct student support services.

Also, new this coming fall semester, CDCR will be purchasing and giving laptops to students (CDCR will also monitor them). It is a notable change, as all of the inmate work to this point has been handwritten.