Our college program at San Quentin State Prison provides 20 intellectually rigorous courses each semester in the humanities, social sciences, math, and science, as well as intensive college preparatory courses in math and English. Our courses are student centered and culturally responsive, and we assist instructors and tutors in maintaining these practices through trainings, syllabus consultation, and semester-long support. Students pay no fees or tuition. All textbooks and school supplies are provided by our program and through donations from publishers.
In contrast to widely-available correspondence courses available at a cost at most prisons, our courses are in-classroom and discussion-based, and offer transferable credits.
Our AA Degree program at San Quentin State Prison has been an extension site of Patten University—our accredited university partner—since the founding of the program. Students enrolled in credit courses are registered at Patten just as if they were enrolled at its main campus, in Oakland. The Prison University Project takes primary responsibility for teacher training and program administration at the San Quentin extension site.
In July of 2018, our students were informed that Patten University would close. Patten has since entered a "teach-out" period to allow a smooth transition for enrolled students. In part as a result of the planned closure of Patten, our program is in the process of applying for independent accreditation.
Our Next Steps
At its February 2, 2019 meeting, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), Western Association of Schools and Colleges reviewed and accepted the Eligibility Report submitted by the College Program at San Quentin. Under Commission rules, acceptance of an Eligibility Report does not establish a formal relationship between the Commission and the college. Inquiries about accreditation should be made to the Commission office: ACCJC, 10 Commercial Blvd., Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949, (415) 506-0234.
ACCJC allows Third Party Comments about applications under consideration. To leave a comment about our application, please follow this link.
To read ACCJC's accreditation standards, follow this link.
Our 2019 Accreditation Self-Study and Site Visit
The College Program at San Quentin recently completed its first ever self-study. The report was submitted to ACCJC in support of initial accreditation for the program. To read our self-study, follow this link.
From October 21st to October 24th, 2019, the College Program will host a peer review team at San Quentin. During the visit, the team will schedule open meetings to discuss issues related to our self-study with any member of the campus community. We look forward to introducing the team to our students, volunteer faculty, and stakeholders!