Higher Education in Prison (HEP) Programs

The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) is committed to working with Florida’s renowned postsecondary institutions to extend high-quality educational opportunities to individuals in its custody and care. Research shows that postsecondary education can reduce recidivism and increase employability and earnings for returning citizens. However, due to financial constraints and inability of our students to take advantage of the Federal Pell Grant, opportunities to participate in postsecondary education have been limited in the past. Recently, the U.S Department of Education extended the piloted Second Chance Experimental Sites Initiative allowing the following Florida colleges and universities to partner with the Florida Department of Corrections to deliver academic services to students leading to accredited, degree-conferring fields of study:

Ashland University offers Associate of Arts and Bachelor degree programs at the following locations:

  • Lawtey Correctional Institution
  • Liberty Correctional Institution
  • Lowell Correctional Institution Annex
  • Marion Correctional Institution

  • Florida Gateway College offers Associate of Science programs and a Bachelor of Applied Science program:

  • Columbia Correctional Institution Annex
  • Miami-Dade College offers an Associate of Arts program:

  • Everglades Correctional Institution
  • Palm Beach State College (academic calendar will begin in August 2022)

  • Martin Correctional Institution—Associate of Science in Landscape and Horticulture Management
  • Sago Palm Re-Entry Center—Associate of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management

  • Eligibility Criteria:

  • Potential students must meet the eligibility criteria for housing at the institution at which the Program is offered and commit to remain at the institution until completion of the degree track.
  • Potential students must be able to produce documentation that will verify Florida residency for the 12 months prior to incarceration.
  • Potential students must have a verified high school diploma or equivalency.
  • Potential students must be within 10 years of the earliest release date (this varies for some programs).
  • Potential students will be subject to an academic and program participation review.
  • Potential students will be subject to a disciplinary history review.
  • Potential students cannot be in default on any student loans, including forbearance.
  • Potential students who are sentenced to life without the eligibility of parole are ineligible.

  • How to Apply:

    Potential students should contact their institution’s Education Department or Classification Department and express interest for college placement, and the institution will forward the request to the Office of Programs and Re-Entry to initiate a formal review.


    Bureau Chief

    Brad Locke

    • Bureau of Education
      • Academic Education
      • Career & Technical Education
      • Community Transistion Services
      • Canine Obedience Training
      • Higher Education in Prison (HEP)
      • Library Services