Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Smith, Laurie


This study investigated formerly incarcerated students' perspectives on the effectiveness of re-entry programs in alleviating barriers to higher education. The study focused on six barriers: parole and probation, collateral consequences, admission, housing, and stigma, aiming to provide insights into program effectiveness. Using an exploratory, quantitative approach, data was collected through surveys distributed via social media and online platforms. Parole and probation were not perceived as significant barriers by participants. Challenges related to collateral consequences, such as limited access to housing and employment opportunities, were highlighted as barriers. Participants did not view recidivism as a significant obstacle to pursuing higher education. However, admission processes, including background checks and disclosure requirements, were identified as barriers. Housing insecurity emerged as a predominant issue affecting stability and educational access, while stigma surrounding criminal records posed significant social barriers. Despite these challenges, participants acknowledged the importance of support services, such as financial aid and counseling, in overcoming barriers to higher education. This research contributes to the field of social work by informing interventions and policies aimed at promoting educational opportunities for this population.

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Social Work Commons