This Program Is Fighting Recidivism With Free Tuition For Formerly Incarcerated

Graduating student
Zain Murdock
June 1, 2021

Bard College will now be offering a program for formerly incarcerated students at their campus in Harlem this fall – named after Black poet Countee Cullen. But, get this: it’s tuition-free! 

Here’s why this new program means more than just a free education.

Bard’s Microcollege for Just Community Leadership will prepare students for careers in community building and social justice. While studying in one of the Blackest cultural hubs in the world, students will learn about the history of social justice movements and receive advocacy training. This is huge.

In a state where the recidivism rate – how frequently incarcerated people end up locked back up again – is over 40%, these students will not only be able to access opportunities themselves, but build more opportunities for their communities!

Former Executive Director of College & Community Fellowship Vivian Nixon can testify to this – she was released from prison 20 years ago herself. 

“Obtaining a college degree has been the most transformative undertaking on my journey toward a life of self-determination and dedication to social justice,” she says.

With this program, formerly incarcerated people will not only receive an education, but learn in classrooms alongside people they share experiences with on a campus in their own neighborhood. 

The more opportunities we can create like this, the more people will be able to avoid recidivism – for good.

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