College Grants and Scholarships For Convicted Felons
Many individuals and organizations recognize that a critical part of a convicted felon's rehabilitation is the opportunity for further education. While many prison communities offer GED classes and some online educational instruction, one of the biggest obstacles that many felons face is financing higher education. However, there are scholarships and grants available, both from federal and private organizations.
A good place to begin your scholarship search is locally. Your community may have individuals, organizations and businesses that sponsor scholarships for its citizens. Regardless of your background, it's possible that you could qualify for some of these.
Libraries are great places to do some scholarship research. Ask your librarian for assistance if needed. Also, if you have a community college in your area, make an appointment to speak with a financial aid officer. She will be able to help you understand what opportunities are available and process any paperwork or applications necessary to qualify for Pell Grants or available scholarships. While there are some restrictions regarding convicted felons, there are funds available for pursuing higher education.
Simmons Brothers Art Scholarship
The Simmons Brothers Art Scholarship is awarded to one ex-felon each year, and provides for a college education at the City University of New York. The scholarship was designed to help those who have been imprisoned for a long period of time under New York's Rockefeller Drug Laws. The scholarship is administered jointly by STRIVE, a non-profit organization in East Harlem, and the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. The scholarship is given to a student who wants to earn a baccalaureate degree in the arts.
240 East 123rd Street
New York, NY 10035
Charles W. Colson Scholarship
The Charles W. Colson Scholarship, named in honor of Charles Colson and his contribution to prison ministries, was established in 1988. A generous private donor funds this scholarship, which is available in cooperation with Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. The scholarship is awarded for tuition, and may also cover expenses for room and board, books, tutoring and personal counseling. You can download an application and read more about the requirements at the Institute for Prison Ministries website.
Institute for Prison Ministries
501 College Avenue
Wheaton, IL 60187
NAACP Prison Project
The NAACP Prison Project is part of the NAACP Branch and Field Services Department. Their objective is to help educate former felons nationwide. They help ex-felons obtain equal rights, provide referrals for inmates and their families, and assist inmates as they reintegrate into society. A list of scholarships provided by the NAACP is available through the organization's website.
NAACP National Headquarters
4805 Mt. Hope Drive
Baltimore, MD 21215
Cleveland Scholarship Programs
The Adult Learner Program, sponsored by Cleveland Scholarship Programs, Inc., focuses on helping non-traditional students who are at least 19 years old and live in the following Ohio counties: Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit or Trumbull Counties. Applicants must also be planning to attend a Pell eligible institution. The application process includes a 300-word essay about why you want to attend college.
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