Missouri Department of Corrections offering higher education opportunity for staff and offenders

Missouri Department of Corrections

The Missouri Department of Corrections is working with Ashland University of Ohio to establish a higher education program for staff and offenders.

For DOC staff, Ashland University plans to offer a tuition discount for online degree programs through the College of Online and Adult Studies. Offerings include associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s programs in fields such as criminal justice, business, communications, and nursing. In addition, Ashland University’s site director will work with staff who have a desire to pursue a college education, helping them complete FAFSA forms and apply for grant or loan funding to attend the college of their choice.

For offenders, Ashland will launch a pilot program at six facilities: Boonville Correctional Center; Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center; Crossroads Correctional Center; Western Missouri Correctional Center; Farmington Correctional Center; and Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center. Designed for corrections environments, the tablet-based program, which will operate through JPay tablets, will enable Second-Chance Pell Grant-eligible offenders to embark on associate’s or bachelor’s degree programs remotely, at no cost to the offenders, the department or taxpayers. This money has been set aside by the federal government specifically for incarcerated offenders and does not compete with existing Pell Grant funding for citizens.

In partnership with Rockhurst University, Washington University, and Saint Louis University, the department continues to provide on-site college courses for both staff and offenders at Chillicothe Correctional Center; Missouri Eastern Correctional Center; and Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center. These courses are offered free of charge to any current staff members who work at or travel to the sites where they’re offered. Credits earned through these partners Missouri institutions and Ashland’s online program may be combined toward a degree.

St. Louis Community College programming for female offenders is scheduled to begin at Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in January, funded through Soul Fisher Ministries.

Staff members with questions related to these programs are encouraged to reach out to Cindy Wansing, Assistant Division Director, DORS Education, for additional information.