College & Community Fellowship (CCF) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enable women with criminal convictions to earn their college degrees so that they, their families, and their communities can thrive. CCF supports students until graduation day and beyond, providing academic support, career development, financial coaching, and much more. We approach systemic change through our national advocacy and an evidence-based technical assistance program.
OUR THEORY OF CHANGE
Creating access to higher education for aspiring students who have been involved with the criminal justice system, including those currently and formerly incarcerated, reduces recidivism and the related costs of crime and imprisonment. Higher education increases opportunities for employment and long-term stability after release.
As evidenced by the unprecedented results achieved by CCF students who receive guidance through our core integrated academic support services, it is undeniable that education transforms lives, reduces poverty, and strengthens communities. While 66% of incarcerated non-degree earners nationwide are likely to return to prison within three years of release, the likelihood drops to 5.6% for Bachelor’s degree recipients and less than 1% for Master’s degree recipients. Overall, less than 2% of the students enrolled in CCF’s Academic Support Program have been re-arrested or re-incarcerated.
FOCUS OF OUR WORK
CCF is a community of women that envisions life beyond criminal conviction and shares the determination that higher education, not past convictions, will define their future. Women at any point in their college career can find services that fit their needs at CCF: whether they are not yet ready for college because they haven’t yet earned a High School Equivalency, ready to begin college for the first time, attempting to return to college after time away, or even looking to earn career certifications as part of their college journey, CCF has had such programs in place for close to decades, and we have expanded direct services to include mentoring and career advancement.
Over the last ten years, CCF has expanded its work to complement its direct services. While the academic support program addresses change on an individual level, CCF’s technical assistance work addresses change on an institutional level, and its advocacy and policy work addresses change on a systemic level.
CCF’s THRIVE Technical Assistance Program, launched in 2016, uses the core procedures and evidence-based practices embedded in the Academic Support Program to support the successful integration of criminal justice-affected people nationally. By training service providers (colleges, universities, nonprofits, parole/probation offices) and potential employers on topics like trauma awareness, collateral consequences of conviction, and more, they help make sure that institutions engaging with CJ-affected people are equipped to do so successfully.
CCF’s advocacy work runs on two levels: at the grassroots level, they train women impacted by incarceration to become skilled community advocates for the causes they care about through a three-month advocacy training program; at the grasstops level, CCF leadership works with organizational partners to educate legislators about the importance of access to higher education for currently and formerly incarcerated students. Campaigns focus on restoring Pell grant eligibility to incarcerated students, and banning criminal history screenings on college and financial aid applications.
College & Community Fellowship (CCF) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enable women with criminal convictions to earn their college degrees so that they, their families, and their communities can thrive. CCF…