Higher Education in Prison

The Office of Higher Education in Prison (SUNY HEP) contributes to SUNY’s mission of providing "the people of New York educational services of the highest quality, with the broadest possible access". At SUNY, we believe in educational equity for incarcerated New Yorkers and work to achieve fair and inclusive access for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated persons to quality higher education programs during incarceration and upon release into the community.

As of Spring 2024, SUNY has 14 campuses currently offering SUNY degrees in 23 state prisons and one federal facility, serving 1,000 students each year, making SUNY the largest education provider in the state.

With robust community and nonprofit partnerships supporting our work, and strong relationships with the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, The City University of New York, and other college campuses, SUNY aims to create and strengthen pathways that expand educational opportunities for students inside correctional facilities as well as those returning to their communities.

In the 2024-2025 academic year, pending Pell application approval, SUNY campuses will build even more programs across the state. This anticipated expansion will bring SUNY’s presence in higher education in prison programs up to 22 campuses offering degrees in 30 state prison facilities.

Our Vision

Our vision is to ensure all incarcerated New Yorkers have equitable access to higher education during their incarceration and after their release. Read more about SUNY's  Vision of Educational Equity for Incarcerated New Yorkers.