Georgia Coalition for Higher Education in Prison

GACHEP builds and supports high-quality educational pathways, from pre-college coursework to accredited degree completion, for people who are in prison and people who have left prison in Georgia.

GACHEP members collaborate to build networks for students and alumni; connect people who have left prison to resources in housing, transportation, healthcare, and employment; and support policy that expands access to higher education. Coalition members include students, faculty, administrators, and alumni in higher education in prison, as well representatives of nonprofits who are dedicated to these goals.

If you are formerly incarcerated or at a Georgia Transitional Center and would like support in pursuing higher education in Georgia, please complete this survey.

Congratulations to the Graduates of Common Good Atlanta's Downtown Class!

August 28, 2020

Please join us in congratulating the 2020 graduates of Common Good Atlanta's Downtown Classroom! Downtown classroom students could complete six hours of course credit from Bard College or could audit the classes while having weekly opportunities to gather, talk, and receive support in pursuing higher education. The graduation event was held via Zoom on August 18.

If you'd like to know more about the downtown class, you check out this video, produced by CGA Civic Engagement Fellow Patrick Rodriguez. If you'd like to join CGA's downtown classroom in its next round, please contact them here.

Supporting Formerly Incarcerated People and Racial Justice in Georgia

June 19, 2020

We ask supporters of GACHEP to consider supporting the following organizations and initiatives that are doing powerful work in support of racial justice in Georgia. In many cases these organizations are led by or include membership of formerly incarcerated people:

  • Women on the Rise provides direct aid to formerly incarcerated women in Atlanta and has been leading the effort to shift funds form policing and incarceration to community-based services (Close the Jail ATL).

  • Fund for formerly incarcerated business owners, who were not eligible for funds under the CARES act, started by folks associated with Women on the Rise.

  • IMAN Atlanta: provides 5000 lbs. of fresh produce each week to ATL Westside and provides reentry support in Atlanta.

  • RestoreHER is a policy advocacy organization but also works to support people in reentry in Georgia in a variety of other ways. The organization played a leading role in creating and passing the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act in GA, and they are now partnering with Spelman College to provide higher education to incarcerated women in Georgia.

  • Athens Alliance Coalition has been providing food and COVID-19 supplies to community members in Athens, GA.

  • SNaP collaborative (solutions not punishment collaborative) is dedicated to ending barriers created by the criminal legal system. SNaP has been involved in the ClosethejailATL initiative and also provides the TCOOO fund, which provides financial direct aid to trans people facing emergencies.

  • New Hope House provides hospitality to families and friends visiting people on Georgia's death row and works to abolish the death penalty.

Relief Fund:

Updated September 2020

The Georgia Coalition for Higher Education in Prison is raising funds to provide emergency support to former students and current reentry participants of higher ed in prison programs in Georgia during the COVID-19 crisis. During this pandemic, people who have left prisons face new challenges to securing housing, employment, food, healthcare, childcare, and transportation . The fund provides direct assistance to students, alumni, community members, and friends who have chosen to seek higher education under some of the most adverse circumstances, so that they can have the security to continue to pursue the opportunities that matter most to them.

This May, GACEHP raised money to provide direct cash assistance to twenty-five current and former participants in the Georgia State University Prison Education Project, Reforming Arts, Common Good Atlanta, Emory University's Certificate in Theological Studies Program, the Chillon Project at Life University, and the Inside-Out Program at the University of Georgia. While we have already distributed funds to these first twenty-five applicants, we are continuing to raise funds in order to provide relief to those who need it in the coming months. If you are interested in donating to this effort, please click the link directly below:

GACHEP University Partners Invited to Participate in Second Chance Pell

April 24, 2020

We are pleased to announce that two Universities that house GACHEP programs, Georgia State University (GSU Prison Education Project) and Life University (the Chillon Project), have received invitations from the U.S. Department of Education to participate in the Second Chance Pell Experiment. This initiative enables incarcerated students who enroll in selected Universities to be eligible to receive need-based federal Pell Grants. The first round of Second Chance Pell began in 2015, and Life University and Georgia State University were two of sixty-seven institutions of higher education nationwide to be invited to participate in the second round.

We are hopeful for what this initiative may mean for higher education in prison in Georgia and throughout the country. It began over twenty years after Pell Grants were banned for incarcerated people as part of the 1994 federal crime bill. Since the first round of the initiative, federal funds have made helped programs enable thousands of college students in prison nationwide to pursue higher education and earn degrees and certificates.