Online classes take aim at juvenile offenders

Offers college credit toward a degree, all while the inmates are still serving time

By Ashley Garst
CorrectionsOne Editor

Education and rehabilitation are often believed to go hand in hand. Putting this belief to the test is Education Portal, now offering a wide variety of courses to help at-risk youth achieve a college education.

“Our mission at Education Portal is to make education available to everyone, everywhere,” said Sarah Inman, Director of PR and Outreach. EP started with an online book exchange to reduce text book costs, and then grew to help overcome many other barriers that face students today.

“Many incarcerated students want to be successful when they transition out to the community, but they are facing barriers that make education out of reach,” Inman said.

“The three main barriers are a lack of basic college readiness skills, inability to afford college, and they don’t have access to college courses while incarcerated. Education Portal allows them to surmount each of these barriers while incarcerated and prepare for a successful transition into their community.”

Courses completed through EP are accepted at nearly 3,000 colleges and universities. Incarcerated students can earn credit for the first two years of college and significantly reduce the time and cost of earning a degree.

EP’s incarcerated youth program has already been implemented in Oregon, through the Oregon Youth Authority’s facilities. About 300 of more than 800 youth in OYA are eligible to participate in the program, and once they leave OYA they can continue with the program through internet-based courses.

“Because of our mission, our courses are completely free for anyone to use with no barriers to access, and they will always remain that way,” Inman said. The courses themselves can be accessed online securely, or downloaded to a computer through a USB drive.

“We hope to reach as many students as possible,” Inman continued. “We now have over 4,000 free online lessons and are growing quickly, adding new videos to the site each day. Soon our courses will cover all of the material taught in the first two years of college and we don’t plan to stop there.”

For more information, contact Sarah Inman at

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