The Department of Corrections (DOC) contracts with the State Board of Community & Technical Colleges (SBCTC) to provide basic education and workforce/technical associate degrees in job training at each of the state’s 12 adult prisons. DOC also partners with providers who deliver credit-bearing programs and enrichment courses. Most incarcerated individuals entering the prison system lack the education to find work and succeed in society. The average Washington incarcerated individual scores at an eighth-grade level or lower in basic literacy skills, such as reading and math. In addition to the contract with SBCTC, the agency also has partnerships with other colleges and non-profit organizations to bring quality education inside our prisons.
United States Congress has lifted the ban from incarcerated individuals from Pell Grants. Starting in October 2022, incarcerated students will be able to submit applications for Federal student aid for anticipated use in Fall 2023.
The DOC currently has three active Pell Grant Experimental Sites (Cedar Creek Corrections Center through Centralia College, Washington State Penitentiary and Coyote Ridge Corrections Center through Walla Walla Community).
The DOC recognizes the importance of education to transform lives. The Department is doing everything it can to minimize the impact of continuity of education programs. The Department has put together a list of frequently asked questions that explain eligibility for Federal aid and measures students impacted by the Washington State Reformatory Unit closure can take to avoid losing Federal aid eligibility.
If you have any questions, please contact your facility’s Education Department.
Every correctional facility offers adult basic education programs, which provide a foundational education in reading, writing, math and English as a Second Language. Also offered are a variety of pre-college preparation courses, pre-apprenticeship programs, vocational certificates and degrees.
Adult Basic Education
- High School Completion
- English as a Second Language
- Pre-College courses
- Business Administration
- Human Services
- Direct Transfer Degrees
- Applied Bachelors in Business
- Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies
Private and Federal Grant Partners
- Accounting and Bookkeeping
- Automotive Repair
- Autobody Collision and Repair
- Baking and Pastry Arts
- Business Administration and Management
- Technical Design and Computer Aided Design (CAD) Drafting and Design
- Computer Numerical Controlled Manufacturing (CNC)
- Computer Programming/Coding
- Diesel Mechanics
- Digital Media: Web and Multimedia
- Drywall, Roofing and Siding
- Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management
- HVAC Technology
- HVAC Technology
- Material Composites
- Pre-Apprenticeships/Construction Trades
Below are Department of Corrections (DOC) policies that apply to the Education Program.
- DOC 500.000 Education and Vocational Programs in Prison
- DOC 500.100 Correspondence Education in Prisons
Laws & Regulations
Revised Code of Washington (RCW)
- RCW 28A.193.020 Solicitation for education provider—Selection of provider—Operation of program by educational service district.
- RCW 72.09.100 Inmate work program—Classes of work programs—Participation—Benefits.
- RCW 72.09.130 Incentive system for participation in education and work programs—Rules—Dissemination.
- RCW 72.09.460 Incarcerated individual participation in education and work programs—Postsecondary degree education opportunities—Legislative intent—Priorities—Rules—Payment of costs.
- RCW 72.09.480 Inmate funds subject to deductions—Definitions—Exceptions—Child support collection actions.
Below are Department of Corrections (DOC) publications that apply to the Education Program.
- Prisons Education Programs Spring 2022 500-CA001
- Fabians Fund
- Freedom Education Project Puget Sound
- Pell Grant Frequently Asked Questions
- Prison Scholar Fund
- State Board of Community and Technical Colleges
- Sustainability in Prisons Project
- United States Department of Education
- University Beyond Bars
- Vera Institute of Justice
- Washington State Institute of Public Policy
- Washington Student Achievement Council