Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Dr. Rigaud Joseph


People from various backgrounds in the United States have college aspirations. However, those with marginalized characteristics, particularly formerly incarcerated individuals, face multiple barriers in their quest for higher education. This study carries a twofold purpose: (a) determining the extent to which formerly incarcerated individuals in higher education in California feel supported and (b) determining types of support associated with educational success among formerly incarcerated individuals in higher education in California. Using the Person-in-Environment Framework, the nonprobability sampling methods of convenience and snowball, and a quantitative research design, this study surveyed 51 formerly incarcerated students enrolled across the California State University system (N = 51). Results of this study reveal that 86.2% of formerly incarcerated students feel supported in their higher education pursuit. Results also indicate that 92.0 percent of the survey participants received many services available at their current institution. Elsewhere, family support, textbook vouchers, technology assistance, food assistance, and support from friends were the most impactful forms of assistance for the participants. The findings of this study have major implications for the Person-in-Environment theory, social work research, social work practice, and higher education.

Keywords: formerly incarcerated individuals, higher education, student support, Project Rebound, California State University System