Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.59
Liaison Susan Dorward
Submission Date Aug. 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

Raritan Valley Community College
IN-50: Innovation D

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Susan Dorward
Sustainability and Energy Coordinator
Facilities and Grounds
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Prisoner Education Program

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

RVCC has partnered with NJ Department of Corrections to run a statewide prisoner education program, teaching the curriculum for our Liberal Arts associate degree and STEM classes at all NJ state prisons. This is a no-tech program (no access to computers or equipment, just pencil and paper), so the classes require some materials adaptation from the on-campus classes, but the learning outcomes remain the same. (For example, for learning about DNA, the students work with strawberries, which can be brought into prison buildings. For astronomy, rather than looking at the stars at night they use sun-spotting scopes to study the sun during the day.) All teaching locations are approved by Middle States.

The student population is highly diverse, as NJ has the nation’s highest level of racial disparity of any prison population in the country. RVCC works to ensure our program provides equitable educational access. Approximately 80% of RISE program participants are people of color. Students are eligible for Second Chance Pell grants to provide federal funding for their education. RVCC maintains a lending library of textbooks so that the students do not need to buy their own books. Graduation gowns are reused. If students are transferred to other facilities, they are able to transfer into the same class at the new facility if it is offered.

In spring 2022, the RISE program had 368 students enrolled in over 2700 credits. During the academic year 2021/22, 51 students in the RISE program graduated with an associate degree.


A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Information provided by Sheila Meiman.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.