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College Initiative

College Initiative's mission is to create pathways from criminal justice involvement to college and beyond and to establish and support communities invested in their own success. CI is open to men and women in New York City who have criminal justice involvement or history and a GED or high school diploma. Central to CI's approach is a collaborative and evolutionary approach to program design that captures the collective intelligence and experience of CI's community. Using this approach, CI develops transportable strategies, tools, relationships and networks aimed at increasing students' resilience in navigating barriers and challenges on the pathway into and through higher education. In the process, CI generates and elevates the work of transformative leaders, from formerly incarcerated students to peer mentors to program staff to faculty to university and community administrators – committed to building the pathway from criminal justice to college. CI's activities include: outreach and recruitment, including on-site presentations at facilities and correspondence with those preparing for release; orientation and assessment, including an overview of the program and baseline testing of academic skills; academic and social preparation including tutoring, and a college preparation program; academic and financial aid counseling and referrals to other reentry services; scholarships; peer mentoring and retention, including employment assistance and linkages to housing and entitlements.

Program Population

Women who have been formerly incarcerated, women who are on parole, women on probation, women who are participating in an alternative to incarceration program, women with limited criminal justice involvement.

Program Capacity

35-40 women per year.

Program Funding Source

Foundations, government funding

Start Date Year
Curriculum Published

Lehman College
524 West 59th Street
Room 609B
New York, NY 10019
United States