Hi, dailychaos !
What worthwhile work you are doing ! I've dug around, and come up with
a number of resources and possible approaches for you. I suspect you
will do better approaching schools and funding bodies on a case by
case basis eg."I have a re-entry student with the following
qualifications who wants to study subject x, and by the way s/he's
done all her/his study in jail, isn't that marvellous "..rather than
looking for scholarships specifically aimed at released felons as a
group. Note that some professions - eg nursing - can deny a licence to
a convicted felon.
The Michigan State University's Department of Admissions and
states: "MSU wants to make it simple for you to apply for
scholarships. Therefore you need only complete an application for
admission prior to November 1st (for admittance the following fall
semester) in order to receive consideration for merit-based
undergraduate scholarships funded by MSU.
The Office of Admissions and Scholarships notifies applicants by
letter if they qualify for an MSU-funded scholarship. Generally,
notification is sent at the end of March."
Need based scholarships require the student to fill out the FAFSA form
- but before being put off by this, note Laura DiFiori's a useful
article on "Strategies for the Non-traditional Student." at:
Among other useful advice, she points out that colleges often require
a student to fill out a FAFSA Form even for a student who is ineligble
for government aid, as the college then uses it to assess the
student's needs: She warites: "Most schools use the information
provided on the FAFSA to determine what aid they will offer you from
their own funds."
There are a variety of scholarships out there, and although I have not
been able to find one specifically designed for released convicts,
there are a few categories which might aplply (apart from the straight
merit-based competitive scholarships). There are lots of scholarships
aimed at women both in traditional subjects such as nursing and in
non-tradtional areas. (You do not say whether you're teaching men or
women; I've rather assumed men.)
The Texas Department of Health site publishes Private Profiles Vol. 11
No. 10 October 2000 at:
which lists the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Michigan)
AREAS OF INTEREST/TYPICAL RECIPIENTS: CIVIC & PUBLIC AFFAIRS-
Community Foundations, Economic Development, Employment/Job Training;
EDUCATION; ENVIRONMENT; HEALTH- Health Policy/Cost Containment,
Home-care Services, Public Health; INTERNATIONAL; SOCIAL SERVICES-
Children Development, Child Welfare, Community Service Organizations,
Crime Prevention, Family Planning, Poverty, Youth Organizations
GRANT INFORMATION: In 1998, awarded $82.6 million for 780 grants with
an average award of $15,000- $250,000.
TYPES OF SUPPORT: Conference/seminar, employee matching gifts, general
support, matching, multiyear/continuing support, operating expenses,
project and seed money
RESTRICTIONS: National; no scholarships, grants or loans to
individuals or religious activities or programs that serve a specific
INITIAL APPROACH: Letter of Inquiry including brief description of the
project and the range of needed funding
PUBLICATIONS: Annual report, facts on grants, guidelines, quarterly
newsletter, grant listings by program
CONTACT: Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Office of Communication,
1200 Mott Foundation Building, Flint, MI 48502-1851, (810) 238-5651,
Fax: (810) 766-1753, Publication Hotline: (800) 645-1766, E-mail:
and Private Profiles March 1999 at:
Kmart Corporation (Michigan)
AREAS OF INTEREST/TYPICAL RECIPIENTS: ARTS & HUMANITIES; CIVIC &
PUBLIC AFFAIRS - Safety, Urban and Community Affairs, Women's Affairs,
Zoos/Aquariums; EDUCATION; SOCIAL SERVICES - Community Service
Organizations, Family Services, Food/Clothing Distribution, United
Funds/United Ways, Youth Organizations
GRANT INFORMATION: Not available.
TYPES OF SUPPORT: Gives through three funds: The Kmart Fund for Kids,
The Kmart Fund for Communities; and the Kmart Fund for Metropolitan
Detroit. Types of support include emergency funds, employee matching
gifts, employee-related scholarships, in-kind gift, and volunteers.
RESTRICTIONS: Gives in operating locations only to 501(c)(3)
organizations; no support local chapters of national organizations;
alumni associations; veterans, religious or political organizations;
group travel expenses; school extra-curricular activities; or
programs/organizations outside of the United States.
INITIAL APPROACH: Letter and application form
PUBLICATIONS: Application form, guidelines, corporate report
CONTACT: Kmart Corporate Contributions Committee, 3100 West Big Beaver
Road, Troy, MI 48084-3163, WWW -
Both of those seem worth approaching.
The Michigan State University Library has a number of resources for
On their "non-traditional recipients" page:
they list a number a scholarships which might fit the bill:
Aletha Lee Harvey Scholarship for Nontraditional Student
Applicant must be a dependent or descendant of a veteran as well as a
non-traditional student (1) returning to the classroom after some
period of time in which his/her formal education was interrupted, (2)
a student over the age of twenty-two attending college for the first
time pursuing a degree, or (3) a student over the age of twenty-two
attending a vocational or trade school.
(Last checked 08/09/01)
Altrusa International of Grand Rapids Scholarship
Any student who did not pursue any form of post secondary education
after graduation from high school or receipt of a GED for a minimum of
24 months, or a student who entered college directly after high school
or receipt of GED but never completed a degree, having sat out a
minimum of two years; a resident of Kent, Allegan, Ionia, Ottawa,
Montcalm, or Muskegon Counties for a minimum of six months prior to
applying. Financial need must be demonstrated; gradepoint must meet
minimum requirement for entry into school or program of choice; two
letters of recommendation must be provided. An interview may be
required for finalists. Scholarship not renewable but you may reapply.
For more information on additional guidelines and requirements,
contact Ruth Bishop at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation at (616)
(Last checked 08/09/01)"
Presumably being in jail in one of the counties would give the
"Community Foundation for Muskegon County
While the majority of the scholarships go to Muskegon County high
school seniors entering colleges and technical schools, the foundation
also assisted a number of older, "nontraditional" students pursuing
higher education later in life.
(Last checked 08/09/01)"
"Michigan State University
Mildred B. Erickson Fellowship
If you have had to interrupt your degree studies for a significant
amount of time, and can demonstrate financial need, the Mildred B.
Erickson Fellowship is designed for you. The individual scholarships
cover the approximate cost of one course, undergraduate or graduate,
for up to two semesters through Michigan State University and its
(Last checked 04/19/02)"
Michigan University has the follwing resources available at the
"Foundation Grants for Individuals on CD-ROM
Located at Main Library Reference desk (in cd-rom cabinet). Load cd
into Desk#3 computer station and click on icon. Online Tutorial is
available on web.
This new CD-ROM is an essential resource for individual grantseekers
as well as for financial aid offices and funding libraries. It offers
high-speed searching of foundations and public charities that provide
support for individuals. Version 2.01 covers 4,200 foundations and
public charities that support education, research, arts, general
welfare, and more. Search fields include: fields of interest, types of
supprt, geographic focus, company name, school name, grantmaker name,
grantmaker city, grantmaker state, and text search.
(Last checked 12/11/01)"
or you can write to:
"Foundation Grants to Individuals. New York, N.Y. : Foundation Center,
biennial. Main Library Reference Funding Center LB2336 .F6
The most comprehensive listing available of private foundations which
provide financial assistance to individuals. The foundations described
have made grants to students, artists, scholors, foreign individuals,
minorities, musicians, scientists and writers for scholarships,
fellowships, student loans, internships, residencies, arts and
cultural projects, medical and emergency assistance, residencies and
travel programs. Latest three editions available; earlier editions may
Back 2 College has a special section on financial aid for re-entry and
returning students at:
Althoug mostly government oriented, it includes links to an e-book on
"Scholarships for Re-entry Students", a $14.95 download.
Federal & State Programs
Professional & Association Awards
College & University Scholarships
Other Scholarships & Awards
Additional Tips for Finding Funding
Requesting Scholarship Information
Applying for and Winning Scholarships
Maximizing Financial Aid as an Adult Student "
The Lake Superior University site:
lists a small scholarship that somebody might just be imaginative
enough to award to an released prisoner with a genuine interest in the
"Criminal Justice Scholarship
Value: $500 non-renewable
Criteria: merit and need based; juniors or seniors in the criminal
justice program; minimum 3.0 GPA; enrolled full time; involvement in
extracurricular college activities
Selection: recommendation by the Criminal Justice Department
Curriculum: criminal justice
About the donor: In 1984, Patrick Shannon established the Criminal
Justice Scholarship. Patrick Shannon served as Chippewa County's
prosecuting attorney for 17 1/2 years. He is currently assistant
superintendent for the Sault Area Schools. "
It is also possible that Mr. Shannon has other charitable interests.
The individual schools and colleges often offer a variety of
scholarships and can probably be approached directly to see what is
available, though it would certainly help if you had a particular
course in mind when making the enquiry. For example, Lansing Community
College lists its scholarships in a PDF file at:
and delightfully includes a Harley Owners Group scholarship.
Scholarships available will vary from year to year.
For general financing and loans Wired Scholar
say: "Wiredscholar makes available a comprehensive, affordable source
of funds that meets all your education financing needs. Federal
Stafford and PLUS loans and private loans, wiredscholar is your
one-stop source for education funding." They explain how to apply for
a loan with a low credit rating with the co-operation of a co-borrower
- who can be released from the their obligations after the first 24
payments are made on time. Contact Sallie Mae at 800-695-3317 to learn
They have information in Spanish .
They also have a $1000.00 scholarship for students to win and there is
a scholarship search function on their site, for which you have to
register. It requires a USA zip code for access and would not accept
my Australian one !
For general interest, the Michigan Daily for Feb. 12th 1998 wrote an
article on the very problem you mention - the access of ex-offenders
to grants and funding. It can be found at:
"Criminals should have access to financial aid
Anyone who wants to get ahead in the United States usually needs to
pursue education past high school. Entrepreneurs may improve their
position in society and pull themselves out of poverty, but schooling
is often the only viable route available to many people. Thus, the
state should not use a person's criminal record against them when they
apply for financial aid to attend college. In fact, allowing ex-felons
to access student assistance provides a critical opportunity for them
to rehabilitate and genuinely adapt to a law-abiding society."
So there's someone who agrees with you out there. The best of luck
with the work you are doing. I hope this helps.
Michigan criminal rehabilitation scholarships