Who We Are

“Higher education is the least resourced tool in current national efforts to reform the criminal justice system and reduce recidivism through successful reentry into the community. College and Community Fellowship is working to change that.” – Vivian D. Nixon, Executive Director

Our Mission

College & Community Fellowship enables women with criminal convictions to earn their college degrees so that they, their families, and their communities can thrive. We advocate for equity and opportunity for the communities we serve.

Our Theory of Change

Creating access to higher education for aspiring students who have been involved with the criminal justice system, including those currently and formerly incarcerated, reduces recidivism and the related costs of crime and imprisonment.  Higher education increases opportunities for employment and long-term stability after release.

As evidenced by the unprecedented results achieved by CCF students who receive guidance through our core integrated academic support services, it is undeniable that education transforms lives, reduces poverty, and strengthens communities.  While 66% of incarcerated non-degree earners nationwide are likely to return to prison within three years of release, the likelihood drops to 5.6% for Bachelor’s degree recipients and less than 1% for Master’s degree recipients.  Overall, less than 2% of the students enrolled in CCF’s Academic Support Program have been re-arrested or re-incarcerated.

Our History

CCF was founded in 2000 to help women involved in the criminal justice system attain a higher education.  During our first year we helped six women attend college after leaving prison. Since then, we have made it possible for hundreds more to advance academically.  Our Fellows have earned:

  • 301 degrees
  • 64 Associate degrees
  • 152 Bachelor degrees
  • 83 Master’s degrees
  • One J.D
  • One PhD

Seven out of ten CCF students complete their degree within four years of becoming CCF Fellows. Our recidivism rate, at 2%, is far below New York State’s three-year recidivism rate for women, which is 30%. Such achievement is evidence that education is a potent antidote to criminal involvement.  Equally notable is our alumnae’s’ commitment to fully engage in their communities as productive citizens.