07 March 06
Bars to Education
For over a year, I’ve been trying to do a prison-approved correspondence course through Rio Salado College.
Problems started at Buckeye when my scholarship applications were rejected over and over again. The reasons included not having a GED (General Education Diploma or High School diploma, similar to UK GCSE), being educated overseas, and having no college courses completed while in prison. I tried to meet each obstacle but got nowhere. I produced my British certificates, including my BA Honours degree, and was told it meant nothing unless I paid an international transcript translator to state its US equivalency. For having no prior college courses completed in prison, I was told to do a woodwork class. As having a bachelor’s degree didn’t meet the GED requirement, I sat the ASSET test and achieved the highest score – causing glimmers of hope – but then I was moved to Tucson, which is in Pima County and scholarships were only available in Maricopa County.
After witnessing my struggle for a scholarship, my parents put money on my books to pay for Psychology 101 – a three credit course costing $336. The forms were filled out and sent for approval and the money was deducted, but the forms got lost. I’m now back to square one, but down $336, so things have regressed.
Undaunted, I obtained the Psychology 101 course material from a prisoner friend, and I’m doing in on my own volition.
Further education helps prisoners get jobs and reintegrate with society. DOC claims to be making progress with GEDs - they should also remove the needless obstacles to higher learning.
With the money deducted from my books, I’m seeking approval to apply it to a course titled Modern Fiction. Wish me luck.
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