New Scholarship in Louisiana for Inmates Making the Transition From Prison to College Should Disproportionately Affect Blacks

In the state of Louisiana, blacks are about 30 percent of the population but more than 70 percent of the prison population. Therefore, a new scholarship program for Louisiana inmates who plan to enroll in higher education upon their release from prison is of particular importance to blacks.

The new Correctional Education Transitional Scholarship is offered by the Correctional Education Association, a nonprofit group that seeks improved educational opportunities for prison inmates. Inmates who are scheduled for release from prison in the next six months are eligible to apply for the scholarship. To be considered for a scholarship, a prisoner must have a high school diploma, must have completed an education program while incarcerated, and the inmate must be at least 17 years old.

The transitional scholarships can be for as much as $500 and are intended to provide living expenses for the inmate while he or she gets started in higher education. Inmates who apply for the transitional scholarships are instructed on how to get federal and state financial aid to pay for the cost of their higher education. Inmates are eligible for the transitional funds only after they have provided the nominating committee with proof that they have been accepted for enrollment at an accredited institution of higher learning.