Catholic Colleges Take the Fair Chance Higher Education Pledge

In summer 2016, the White House took a stride forward in removing barriers to participation in society for individuals returning from prison or returning citizens by launching the Fair Chance Pledge. Meant for businesses and institutions of higher education, the pledge commits signatories to committing to reducing barriers to a second chance at societal participation, to acting on this commitment in their local communities, and being an example for peer institutions and businesses.

Among institutions of higher education, taking the Pledge means “adopting fair chance admissions practices like going ‘Beyond the Box‘” by reconsidering whether questions related to criminal history are necessary for admissions applications. Additionally, the Pledge symbolizes a commitment to continue “supporting professors or students who want to teach or are teaching in correctional facilities and ensuring internships and job training are available to individuals with criminal records.”

ACCU member institutions Ancilla College, College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University have taken the Pledge. We look forward to hearing about the advances these and other schools have made towards removing barriers for returning citizens.

Learn more about the Fair Chance Higher Education Pledge here.

Department of Education Releases ‘Beyond the Box’ Resource Guide

With the awarding of 67 Second Chance Pell Grants and the launching of the Fair Chance Higher Education Pledge, the White House and the Department of Education are making impressive efforts to offer both incarcerated individuals and individuals returning from prison or returning citizens an opportunity to not only pursue higher education, but also to obtain meaningful employment. In another stride towards removing barriers from societal participation for these individuals, the Department of Education has also released a resource guide for institutions and businesses seeking to go ‘Beyond the Box.

Referring to the box or question on admissions and job applications regarding criminal history, ‘Beyond the Box’ is an initiative that seeks to “increase access to higher education for justice-involved individuals,” as the resource guide states. The guide gives important background information on the near impossibility to access higher education and employment after incarceration, the benefits of providing access to returning citizens, and a step-by-step guide for institutions considering going ‘Beyond the Box.’

For the 600,000 people who re-enter society each year in the United States, it is the hope of the ‘Beyond the Box’ initiative to show that their success is indeed possible.

Will your college or university go ‘Beyond the Box’? Let us know!