The Illinois Coalition for Higher Education in Prison (IL-CHEP) is a coalition of educators, students, activists, universities, and others committed to bringing quality higher education to Illinois prisons and jails and working toward a safer, more just society. IL-CHEP operates with the knowledge that higher education programs are among the best ways to offer opportunities and hope to individuals who are incarcerated. Such programs also help all of us imagine alternatives to our current system of mass incarceration.
IL-CHEP has several university membership partners that work in a handful of Illinois prisons. Since its inception in 2016, the work of IL-CHEP has grown from expanding learning opportunities in prison, to activism around The Freedom to Learn Campaign.
Illinois is unique in the coordination between universities providing higher education in prison, and as such, has recently received a Mellon Foundation grant to provide coordination and communications support for the expanding network. IPSSJ is honored to steward this important work moving forward, particularly as Adler University launches the first online education pilot for students at Big Muddy Correctional Center in downstate Illinois.
The Illinois Coalition for Higher Education in Prison (IL-CHEP) has seven main priorities and goals:
Through the generous support of Lise Quintana, a scholarship has been established for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals. The Quintana Last Mile Scholarship aims to help those who started their college education while incarcerated, but have been unable to complete their degree.
The Quintana Last Mile Scholarship annually provides up to 20 individuals with scholarship support for incarcerated or formerly incarcerated individuals. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that their need for funding is required to proceed with their educational goals. Scholarship dollars can be made available for a wide variety of educational needs, or to help pay off accrued loan debt that is keeping an applicant from proceeding with their current educational goals. Individuals within 4 semesters of completion will be given priority.
Applicants must be within 1 year of receiving a 4-year or graduate degree from an accredited college or university.
Support the Quintana Last Mile Scholarship by making a donation to IL-CHEP.
Support the Illinois Coalition for Higher Education in Prison (IL-CHEP) to offer opportunities and hope to individuals who are incarcerated.