Serving the Underserved: Formerly Incarcerated Students and Support Services




formerly incarcerated students, community college, academic learning, sense of belonging, career preparedness


This study centered on the lived experiences of five community college students who were formerly incarcerated. Through interviews, the students shared their expectations before entering college, resources they found to be most helpful throughout their enrollment, and what they feel could make them more successful. The research focuses on the areas of academic learning, sense of belonging, and career preparedness. Results showed formerly incarcerated students were very independent when applying for college, but some standard procedures such as, applying for in-state residency for instance, are not streamlined. Formerly incarcerated students experienced difficulty using technology and finding the equipment and a quiet space to study. Active learning, connections with faculty and peers of similar interests, and helpful, trained advisors were all credited as adding to the success of formerly incarcerated students. These findings are discussed in relation to adjustments that can be made by community college administrators.

Author Biographies

Rebecca Caskey, Department of Higher Education Leadership, Maryville University

Rebecca Caskey, EdD, is institutional compliance director at State College of Florida, Manatee- Sarasota. Her experience spans student services and administrative positions, including career services, Title IX coordinator, student activities, and the provision of academic resources to students. Dr. Caskey’s professional work centers on social justice and equity, conflict resolution, and organizational compliance.

Shelley Price-Williams, College of Education, University of Iowa

Shelley Price-Williams, PhD, is assistant professor of Postsecondary Education at the University of Northern Iowa. She holds 2 decades of experience in student and academic affairs spanning program development and management as well as academic advising, career counseling, and assessment. Dr. Price-Williams’ research interests center on noncognitive factors of college student transitions and persistence, organizational justice, and structural equity. She teaches courses on integrating theory with practice, professional helping in student affairs, administration and finance, higher education law, and research design and assessment.


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How to Cite

Caskey, R., & Price-Williams, S. (2023). Serving the Underserved: Formerly Incarcerated Students and Support Services. Journal of College Academic Support Programs, 6(1), 13.