Prisoners are often assigned to take Department of Corrections programs, but participation in University Beyond Bars is always elective.  Each semester UBB offers 20-25 courses in the humanities, social sciences, math, and science, including college preparatory classes in English and math.  Course offerings are selected with the help of our Prisoner Advisory Committee (PAC) and Education Advisory Committee (EAC). Most UBB courses meet weekly, Monday through Saturday.

Most UBB students also work full-time jobs inside the prison where they earn $0.42/hour for a maximum of $55/month.  Managing this work-study balance means it generally takes three years for students to complete an Associate of Arts degree; UBB’s partnership with Seattle Central College and expansion to MSU has created a clear pathway for students to continue their studies upon release at Seattle Central College or another area college.

Generous donor support enables us to provide students with all required textbooks, fees, and supplies.


Designed for students pursuing an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree, which is awarded by our partner Seattle Central College. To qualify, these students (who matriculate as part- or full-time students) must demonstrate college readiness or complete our preparatory curricula in 
math and English.

Certificate Pathway

Encourages students who have completed their secondary education to continue their studies by enrolling in a variety of short- and medium-term non-credit courses designed to inspire interest in higher education.

Arts and Lecture Series

Provides open access to one-time lectures and guest performances that expose prisoners to cultural events and inspire interest in the arts, sciences, and liberal learning.


UBB is one of only a handful of prison college programs remaining nationwide.
We offer 20-25 classes to over 200 students each semester.
UBB is the first college experience for 69% of our students.
Our students have earned more than 3,250 hours of college credit and 11 Associate degrees.
Faculty from area colleges and universities donate more than 3,500 hours of teaching every semester.
Almost 70% of our students will be released in 2-5 years.

Student Demographics2.jpg
Student Demographics3.jpg