Transfer and Articulation

College-in-Prison Transfer and Articulation Work

Justice-involved students experience many challenges related to transfer and completion of credits. One potential roadblock for students is transfer between institutions. Currently incarcerated students may be transferred between correctional facilities throughout the course of their sentence. In addition, incarcerated students are often released prior to degree completion, and may need to transfer to a different institution to continue their education. In both cases, we want to ensure that these students can achieve their educational goals no matter where they begin or continue their studies.

As with non-incarcerated transfer students, there are two key problems with the transfer of coursework. First, a successfully completed course may be denied because they are not deemed to be as rigorous as the equivalent course at the receiving institution. This results in students having to repeat successfully completed content. Second, students may not take the right mix of courses if academic programs are not aligned between institutions. In both cases, students suffer higher costs and extended time-to-degree.

New York District Attorney’s (DANY) Criminal Justice Investment Initiative

As part of the New York District Attorney's (DANY) Criminal Justice Investment Initiative, SUNY has been working with participating providers to develop articulation agreements that align, to the extent possible, course requirements across all CJIII-funded education programs and ensure transferability of credits. There are both public and private institutions participating in this initiative and while many U.S. public higher education systems have developed internal transfer policies between their campuses, to our knowledge a state-wide transfer framework between two different public systems and private institutions has never been attempted. We hope our work in this initiative can help more providers throughout New York think about exploring how transfer agreements, policies, and pathways can support justice involved students.

  • Bard Prison Initiative
  • Cornell Prison Education Program
  • Medaille College
  • Mercy College
  • New York University
  • SUNY Jefferson Community College
  • SUNY Mohawk Valley Community College

Curriculum Mapping Project

General Education

As a starting place, we looked for what all DANY providers shared Two key commonalities emerged. First, all institutions have general education programs, even if they do not have common requirements. Second, because all institutions are located in New York State, they are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which requires that all students on a campus be exposed to the nine MSCHE competency areas through an academic or co-curricular experience: Written and Oral Communication, Quantitative Reasoning, Scientific Reasoning, Diverse Perspectives, Global Awareness, Cultural Sensitivity, Value and Ethics, Critical Analysis and Reasoning and Information Literacy.

While MSCHE leaves the definition of the competency areas up to campuses, we thought a good place to start would be to collect information about courses, content, and learning outcomes from each of the academic programs involved in the grant, and mapping these to the MSCHE categories to look for commonalities. This process was performed iteratively over the past academic year (2018-19) and reviewed by each of the providers.

Prison Education General Education Framework (PEGEF) Curriculum Map

What emerged was the Prison Education General Education Framework (PEGEF), a minimum of 27 credits across the nine MSCHE categories. Our hope is that the PEGEF can be used to provide advising information and transfer guarantees for students across all participating institutions.

The proposed transfer guarantees are modelled on SUNY and CUNY general education transfer policies. SUNY has had these policies in place since 1998, and in our experience, they provide flexibility for campuses and enough commonality to support transfer student success. The proposed guarantees are as follows:

  • A PEGEF category satisfied at one campus will be considered satisfied at all campuses.
  • A PEGEF course completed with a grade of ā€˜Cā€™ or better will be guaranteed transfer credit for that course at all campuses.
  • The completed PEGEF will be considered completed at all campuses.
  • Transfer students can be required to complete additional local general education requirements, so long as it does not result in additional credits beyond what non-transfer students in the same program are required to take.
  • Pending approval by participating institutions, the transfer guarantees cited above will apply to transfer students between facilities and for returning students continuing their education following release.

To date the follow DANY providers have signed statements of support for PEGEF:

  • Medaille College
  • Mercy College
  • SUNY Cayuga Community College
  • SUNY Jefferson Community College
  • SUNY Mohawk Valley Community College

Resources for Campuses

Key Contacts for CIP Providers

If you are an educational provider working with justice involved students, are justice involved student yourself, or know a justice involved student with academic questions including the transfer of college credits between CIP programs or campuses, please see below contact information below:

DANY College-in-Prison Providers

SUNY College-in-Prison Providers

(format Provider (Prison), Key Contact, Title, email)

Why does SUNY Matter?