University Beyond Bars Programs
- College Pathway, in which students who complete a UBB college readiness curriculum in Math and English or demonstrate college readiness in proficiency examinations matriculate as part- or full-time students toward associate's and baccalaureate degree
- Certificate Pathway, which encourages students who have completed secondary education to continue by offering a variety of short- and medium-term non-credit courses designed to inspire interest in higher education
- Arts and Lecture Series, which provides open access to one-time lectures and guest performances that expose prisoners to cultural events and inspire interest in the arts, sciences, and liberal learning.
Prisoners are often assigned to take DOC contract programs, but participation in UBB is always elective. Over 110 students participate, with about 55 degree-seeking students in the College Pathway, ten of whom are working on baccalaureate degrees. UBB offers 12-15 courses each semester. The majority of students in the College Pathway are taking lower-division courses towards an associate's degree, while a smaller group of students are currently taking upper-division courses towards graduating from college with baccalaureate degrees.
Why offer college to prisoners? The economic and social benefits to society as a whole, not just prisoners, are well evidenced. The Washington State Institute for Public Policy's 2012 comprehensive meta-analysis of evidence-based public policy options for reducing crime and lowering criminal justice costs found that, for prisoners generally, the single most valuable correctional program is education, with over twenty dollars in social benefits for every dollar invested.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
UBB’s major accomplishment include -
- Secured more than 2,000 hours of college credit
- Seven have earned associate's degrees
- Ten are pursuing bachelor's degrees
- This year, five students earned their Associates Degree. Raising the total number of Associates degrees awarded to twelve
- Writings by UBB students have won national awards and have been published in scholarly journals The Yale Law Journal and national magazines like YES! magazine.
UBB’s current challenge is securing funding to pay for tuition for every student. UBB is unable to pay for credit for all students, which creates a situation where only students with financial support can receive degrees. UBB wishes to create a program where all students receive their hard earned college credit and a chance at a better future, regardless of financial standing.