Spring 2024

Lindsey Brantley; Claudia Budzyn; Juilia Gutgesell; Jordan Jones; Laura Koeppen; Emily McLeod; Sydney Snearer; and Javeria Zulfqar, "Knowledge Unchained"

Team Members: Lindsey Brantley (Team Lead), Jordan Jones (Design Lead), Juilia Gutgesell
(Technology Specialist), Claudia Budzyn (Policy and Education Lead), Emily McLeod (Policy and Education Team), Javeria Zulfqar (Technology Policy Analyst), Laura Koeppen (Business Team), and Sydney Snearer (Business Team)
Faculty Advisor: Sylvester Johnson 
Partners: Ithaka S+R, Nucleos, VERA Institute of Justice, Virginia Department of Corrections 

Executive Summary

        Knowledge Unchained is our student project group that has found a problem space within the prison systems of Virginia. Our goal is to serve as the intermediary between the college network and the prison system. The purpose is to provide access to higher education for incarcerated individuals, comparable to a four-year degree at a university. This will provide value to both colleges and incarcerated individuals. Colleges that are facing troubles with attaining students can improve their enrollment by expanding their customer base to incarcerated individuals. The tuition will be accessible through the Pell Grant for incarcerated individuals to apply for. Our solution will ease the process of connecting the university to the prison, expediting the Pell Grant application process, and providing the resources necessary to conduct teaching. 
        We also want student voices to be heard and shape how courses are taught, making sure that we have equity and inclusion as our top priority in creating this program. As of now, we have a short-term plan that includes courses being taught at River North Correctional Center. We then hope to achieve a sustainable, long-term funding plan and have policies and communication plans in place that will support our team through this school year with our technological goals and enable our project to continue after we conclude the Calhoun Honors Discovery Program (CHDP). 
        Our goal is to bridge the gap between the college network and incarcerated learners. In this document, we lay out the quantitative justification and backing that will help us achieve our goal. Our solution has the scalability potential to impact 2 million incarcerated individuals. This mission is to empower the individual to learn, be motivated, and give back to society. We want to change the statistic that 44% of incarcerated individuals return to prison within the first year of entering back into society.
 Figure 1. Graph showing the gap between the total prison population and total prison population enrolled in postsecondary education.

Figure 2. Graph showing areas in Virginia with postsecondary education opportunities. 

Problem Statement
        Higher education in prisons is the leading factor in reducing recidivism rates in America and improving the overall quality of prison reform. Despite the strong desire to prioritize educational development for incarcerated individuals, there are policy, security, and technological constraints that make the implementation of education programs highly difficult. Hence a lack of educational prioritization creates a societal gap by limiting inmates’ ability to contribute and serve.
Incarcerated learners
A lack of educational prioritization due to policy, security, and technological constraints makes it difficult to implement higher education programs in prisons.
Colleges and Institutions
As higher education enrollment decreases due to lower birth rates, smaller universities and colleges will struggle to generate a large part of their revenue from student tuition.
Since higher education in prisons is the leading factor in reducing recidivism rates in America, not having a higher education program for incarcerated people limits their ability to contribute and serve society.

        For our project, we must consider the needs and restrictions involved with attempts to reform an inequitable problem space of higher education in prisons. The first set of constraints comes from the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC). Since we are working with a level four security prison, we must consider that some materials are not allowed or available in the prison. Some of these include internet access, personal devices, unlimited access to computer labs and libraries, and direct communication with professors. Similarly, information and materials spread much more slowly in prisons because of the added levels of security. We also must consider that there are restrictions on personal professor involvement since River North is an hour and a half away from Blacksburg. For these reasons, we need a solution that complies with security restrictions, accommodates professors, administers learning materials more efficiently, and prioritizes education in prisons. 
Acquire and Analyze
        In our problem and solution space, we had to gather data on how many people are incarcerated in the United States to gauge our market size. We also had to figure out the impact that the enrollment cliff would have on our college stakeholders so that we could better meet their needs. For our market size, we have 2 million incarcerated students in the United States.
        While this is not a market we can currently serve, it is information that we need so that we can grasp the feasibility and sustainability of our solution. There is space within this market to grow beyond the small classroom of students we currently serve in River North Correctional Center. Additionally, for the enrollment cliff, we were able to find that since birth rates are going to start decreasing in some states by as much as 15%, that means college enrollment rates will be greatly reduced. Finding this out, we were able to better address the gap for our potential college partners. We found that targeting smaller, open admissions colleges would be most beneficial since there are no admission requirements and smaller colleges are going to be most impacted by the enrollment cliff.
        With our three stakeholders, there are different impacts that our solution can have. For incarcerated learners, the curriculum’s impact will be the biggest, because it will change their lives. Where the program goes in places where incarcerated individuals currently do not have access to receive a college education, thus giving them that access to receive, ultimately, a college degree. This will allow them to grow as individuals and contribute better to society if they re-enter it. This leads to the impact on our second stakeholder, society, because upon reentry these individuals are no longer considered a “burden,” but contributing members of society who can gain employment and contribute meaningful skills and knowledge to make society better. Finally, for our third stakeholder, colleges, our solution will provide a way to improve their business plan following the enrollment cliff’s impact. It will also provide them with a new customer group that will contribute tuition towards the college education that their institution can provide. With our current solution in place, the biggest negative impact has been the constraints that come from it being inside a level four security prison. For example, internet access, learners getting to the classroom, and professors being able to teach in the prison. While we are trying to navigate this constraint, it is greatly impacting the learning quality of our students and limiting our ability to entice professors to want to teach in that type of environment, especially when virtual options of teaching are limited currently. In our current solution, we have been able to mitigate this impact somewhat by allowing the class to be focused more on assigning learners work that can be done outside of the classroom, versus having to be in the classroom setting. Through future iterations and progress, we hope to implement a virtual teaching system that will allow students to attend class virtually, and connect with professors from anywhere in the world, helping with our problem of recruiting faculty.
        Since this is an ongoing project, we have begun to articulate our solution to stakeholders including Virginia Tech, VADOC personnel, Virginia Tech Honors College professors and the Department of Humanities, students at River North, and industry partners. The enabling capacity of this project that is not seen in other scopes is that incarcerated individuals could aid in the impending enrollment cliff that will hinder higher education and society in the next five years. Incarcerated individuals desire an education and could use Pell Grants to fund the courses that they take through open admission to four-year universities. The value that this solution poses to incarcerated individuals, colleges and universities, and society is thoroughly articulated in the value proposition section of this report. The solution proposed that gives incarcerated individuals access to higher education recognizes that education should be viable for all individuals, regardless of their current limitations or societal predispositions. 

Bounding Constraints 
        The implementation of our solution faces a multitude of bounding constraints that hinder progress in the realm of prison reform and the reduction of recidivism rates in the United States. There is a strong desire to prioritize educational development within prisons, despite the presence of policy, security, and technological constraints creating formidable barriers. These constraints not only impede the establishment of effective educational programs but also this restricted access contributes to a societal gap by limiting inmates’ opportunities to contribute meaningfully to society. Additionally, as the focus on higher education enrollment diminishes due to declining birth rates, smaller universities and colleges are confronted with financial challenges. This problem further complicates the provision of educational services to incarcerated learners. Consequently, the absence of a robust higher education program for individuals in prison not only compromises their personal growth but also undermines the broader goal of fostering positive societal contributions and reducing recidivism rates.

Hypothesis Description
        If a third-party business was implemented to connect higher education at four-year open admission colleges and universities to incarcerated learners at various prisons, these incarcerated learners would be equipped to serve and contribute to society with a positive impact. This solution will provide benefits to incarcerated learners, colleges and universities, and society. 
        This business would be scalable to any university and prison. A program advisor can administer the process of training professors, assist with Pell Grant applications, renovate the learning space, and ensure a quality transition. The program will be catered to incarcerated people who want to learn and show motivation to complete the course. The universities we will market towards will be four-year open admission institutions that are seeing a decrease in enrollment rates. This marketing will eliminate the unfair advantage of admission for incarcerated learners and benefit the university in maintaining tuition rates. 
        Professors of this program would be well-versed in their respective courses because said courses would equate to 100-level courses at a four-year institution. After completion, we predict that the incarcerated learners would be able to re-enter society with valuable skills to show potential employers.

Concept of Operations (CONOPS)Figure 3. Flow diagram showing the journey that an incarcerated learner would follow using. 

        To extend higher education opportunities to incarcerated individuals, our service engages with a diverse set of stakeholders and crucial elements integral to its success. Open universities with four-year programs can seamlessly integrate their college courses into our network by submitting applications for review. We carefully evaluate and approve each university’s offerings, presenting these opportunities to potential incarcerated students.
        Like traditional undergraduates, incarcerated learners follow a process involving obtaining a high school diploma and undergoing prerequisite testing to show their qualifications. Our service provides access to a variety of programs, empowering incarcerated individuals to choose courses aligned with their needs. This freedom of choice is a significant benefit for both students and professors, fostering a sense of dedication among learners and facilitating engagement for educators.
Financial concerns are alleviated through the Pell Grant, enabling incarcerated learners to apply for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with our assistance. This streamlines eligibility for the Pell Grant, ensuring that universities receive the necessary tuition to deliver courses to incarcerated students.
        To prepare professors for the unique environment, they undergo training before stepping into the classroom. These spaces, strategically designed within the prison, promote learning, creativity, and independence—a departure from the typical prison environment. This design not only benefits students but also creates a comfortable teaching environment for professors, enhancing their effectiveness.
        In situations where professors are located remotely due to prison locations, the Polycom system minimizes lengthy commutes by establishing a hybrid classroom. This system facilitates virtual learning, allowing incarcerated learners to access course content while still physically attending the classroom. JSTOR (digital database of academic journals) expands its access to content, providing pre-approved articles for enhanced learning experiences.
        Upon course completion, students receive certification with microcredentials through Badgr (a Canvas site already used within Virginia Tech to give out certificates for completing workshops or other courses not connected to credits), serving as tangible proof of their accomplishments. These certificates can be applied toward future degrees once released, offering an asset for employment opportunities.

Solution Concept
        Our solution is a service that will serve as the intermediary between higher education and incarcerated individuals. We will work with colleges seeing a decline in enrollment rates and improve their enrollment by providing access to a new customer segment that includes the incarcerated individuals. Our company will work with these individuals to apply for Pell Grants, which is a financial scholarship equivalent to the price of tuition, that will be used to attend this university. Our solution provides value to both sides as incarcerated individuals can gain an education while the college can improve enrollment rates and tuition revenue. 

System Diagram 

Figure 4. The figure depicts the relationship between our solution and stakeholders, including beginning and end goals. 

Four Set Analysis 
        When analyzing the problem and solution space, we start with desirability. First, there is the personal need of an individual or group. Incarcerated persons have a desire to feel connected, to feel heard, and to feel human. They also want to learn and communicate their feelings for their own emotional needs and for those who will be reintroduced to society and need to write and communicate in their jobs. There are 70,000 incarcerated Virginia Residents, with 38,000 of those in prisons, and incarceration rates in Virginia are only rising. There is a large group of people in South West Virginia alone that would benefit from higher education let alone outside our scope with Virginia, the entire country, and federal prisons. Participating in education programs while incarcerated reduces the chance of recidivism by 43%. For our stakeholders, the instructors, and the university, they have a personal need to be able to deliver the program without burdening professors with driving over five hours a day while having other courses with the university and their personal needs. Going along with that, the students need an engaging learning experience achieved through presence in a learning environment. Virginia Tech also has a desire for personal growth of their professors. They pay for professors to attend conferences and retreats to make them better professors. We believe that the experience of teaching incarcerated students will be an eye-opening experience that will impact the way Virginia Tech professors view education and their role. In addition to the personal needs of some of our stakeholders there is a societal need by the Virginia government and VADOC to lower recidivism rates and have a safe and secure education environment that abides by the rules and regulations within state facilities.
        The current feasible approach to the solution concept of the pilot course was recorded lectures that could be watched by students at their own pace. However, there are additional technologies on a range of maturities that could help realize some of the user and stakeholder needs. For example, Polycom has a video conferencing tool that is already recognized in Virginia prisons that could also be used in higher education in prisons (HEP) for instructors who cannot come in person to the facility, and this is our next step in increasing technology in the next course offered in 2024. 
        We will purchase two Poly devices, one on campus and the other in River North Correctional Center, that allows a professor to start a Zoom call. Once in the call, there is capability for content sharing, outside noise reduction, and speaker video tracking that allows for the best quality experience for both the instructor and students. We have met with River North, and they have agreed to add a Polycom system in their classroom, they only need us to write the proposal to be approved and use our funding to purchase it. Another need is for accessible materials for the students to do their research. Currently, everything must be approved by the facility ahead of class. ITHAKA S+R has been working with JSTOR to create a wireless server and flash drive that has stored thousands of articles and books for students to browse and request approval for. The offline version of the JSTOR device was approved for the 2024 course, and Ithaka is working on quality assurance testing with the online version and the tablets that are used for communication and entertainment within the prison. Nucleos is creating a secure network that can be used within prisons to conduct research as well. We were able to find a case study in the Louisiana DOC which used a local company ATLO Software who created virtual educational and training environments to be used in prisons. To combat this problem of secure networks they partnered with Sophos Unified Threat Management (UTF) to keep everything secure and block traffic from the devices in the prison to the public internet and provide other security needs. This finding is very useful in understanding the maturity of secure network technology in prisons and may aid us in finding ways to bring similar technology into Virginia. The most recent piece of technology we have added to our prototype is microcredentials through Badgr.. It is not currently feasible to give credits to the students, however, this is a temporary way to still give the students verification of their courses. The only thing that students need is an email address to receive the certificate. After speaking to the River North principal, assigning email addresses is feasible since it is something that is already done for trade courses that are offered at the prison. The certificates also have a QR code in the center that takes you back to the Canvas hosted site with the name of the recipient and when the certificate was awarded that way it can be verified that it is real.
        To produce a viable solution concept, it must be able to continue to have a high-quality format that is repeatable while meeting the user cost constraints. The pilot program demonstrated the quality of the initial solution concept with elevated levels of engagement from students and interest throughout the prison. The four-week pilot was used to test the course’s desired functions such as the class period structure, assignments, security, and engagement. Although the pilot did repeat classes eight times over four weeks, there must be a level of repeatability with new sets of students and new facilities to truly be viable. In cost, the pilot was funded by the Center for Humanities, with Dr. Johnson not receiving additional pay for his participation. We now know that with donors to the Center for Humanities, we can expect a budget close to $3 million which will allow short-term financial viability. With the growth and expansion of Pell Grants, that is another potential source of funding to reduce the dependency on private donors. In long-term solutions, funding is necessary to pay instructors as well as cover the costs of an accredited program since it is a vital need of the user to be able to have this experience for all members of the prison not just those with the means to pay or a small number of students that can be covered with donations. One way to do this is to become a benefit corporation that brings in revenue through selling services such as consulting other states and colleges on how to do similar programs and selling education to the VADOC since they have a very large budget that is used for many other contracts. This will allow us to continue funding our mission without the instability of private donors and stock market returns. 
        For our system to endure and provide a consistent benefit over time to our stakeholders and users, certain sustainability factors must be addressed. A cost model that can sustain itself and allow additional students to enroll in the program is vital to the continuation of the program. Being able to use government funding, our own sources of income, as well as investing donations in a way that costs can be sustainably taken out will create a system that can sustain itself long-term. Also, in terms of embracing societal norms, instructors and students need to have mutual respect and be able to see the students as humans and not as what has happened in their pasts. Government compliance is a major risk to long-term success. If the VADOCs chose to stop access to the prisons or did not allow new technologies, it would be detrimental to the program. To grow the program beyond River North Correctional Center, which would be necessary for the solution’s overall sustainability, more prisons within Virginia that do not have HEP must also accept this concept.
2023–2024 Amendment
        We looked at research and articles about going to college later in life to understand some of the benefits and difficulties. Even though one in five college students is over the age of 30, not many universities are set up with the different learning needs of those students. We believe that there are overlaps between incarcerated learners and older students since they have many barriers to getting their degrees. Needing to work or take care of a family can be related to incarcerated learners having to work and not having the ability to go to school full-time. There is also the difference between these learners and their peers of 18–22-year-old students who may be more invested in the normal pace of college. Having more experiences can make more meaning out of an education, and lead to better discussions in the classroom. There is also a factor of these students not going to college because their parents are forcing them or it is what seemed normal after college, they are choosing to get an education because they want more opportunities. This can create more determined learners. This is all connected to the desirability of focusing on incarcerated learners because they can be considered in this group of older college students who can bring wisdom and experiences to their education.

Value Proposition
Incarcerated Learners 
For the incarcerated learners, our program allows them to gain communication, collaboration, and professional skills for individual growth and societal contribution.  
Colleges and Institutions
For colleges facing decreasing enrollment rates, our solution provides access to new customer bases to continue college operations and contribute to the well-being of society. 
For a society with formerly incarcerated individuals, our program provides the framework and reentry qualification to successfully contribute valuable skills.

        Due to the project’s nature, our prototype is a service solution connecting incarcerated students to open admission four-year universities. We will facilitate the flow of incarcerated students and tuition payments to open admission four-year universities which are going to face enrollment decline and the associated revenue decline due to reduced birthing rates in the last 20 years, and in return, the universities will provide higher education to the incarcerated students. Our prototype is split into four main services we are providing to facilitate the learning experience: funding assistance, course curriculum, class design, and implementing technology. 
        A major struggle when going through iterations of our prototype was finding long-term dependable funding. We started by only looking at donations, which are not a constant source of funding. As of July 2023, Federal Pell Grants, which low-income students pursuing a degree, became available for incarcerated students. This allows us to cover tuition costs through the Pell Grants and only needs to rely on other grants and donations for overhead costs from individual contributors, Mellon Foundation, and other Department of Justice (DOJ) grants. To obtain Pell Grants the students need to fill out a FAFSA form, which we will aid and work with the student to ensure the tuition payments reach the university they are enrolled in. 
 Figure 5. Pugh matrix for funding sources. 

        To ensure that the courses meet the restrictions of a prison, we will create the course curriculums and match professors who have comfort in the domain to teach. We are beginning with a humanities curriculum since we believe that the humanities are incredibly important with the goal of rehabilitation in prisons and allows the students to build communication skills. Education in prisons should not only give the students skills for jobs but also allow them the opportunities to improve themselves through self-reflection and respectful discussions.  As the solution grows, our current prototype allows for three different curriculums: humanities, business, and technical tracks which allows students to choose what they are most interested in to pursue and complete the associated courses that we will build. 
        Prisons in the United States are not warm and inviting spaces, however, the classroom is a space that should allow students to feel comfortable and open to learning. We hope to make some changes to the classroom so both students and professors feel comfortable when they enter. There are many restrictions to the space design that will have to be navigated including sourcing, safety, and cost. Our main goal is to provide a space that is calming through color. 
        The last subservice of our prototype is integrating technology into the incarcerated learning space. Currently, students have access to the library twice a month and the computer lab by approval, which limits the ability to have a normal college learning experience. Technology is one of the most restricted areas in our project between internet restrictions and security concerns. We have three different technologies that we are focusing on in our prototype. The first is a video conferencing solution from Polycom. Polycom is a company that provides the DOC with many communication systems including phone call and video call devices. This service will allow professors to reduce the amount of travel to the prisons which allows us to gain more professors for our program while meeting the DOC security needs. The next technology is the JSTOR offline database. This device gives the students the ability to request sources that can be used for research assignments, which bridges a major gap in the learning of incarcerated students and college students. We are excited to implement this device in our Spring 2024 course at River North. The last technology that is the least developed in our prototype is the use of tablets for educational materials. Many prisons have contracts with tablet providers which the inmates can purchase to use for messaging and entertainment. Some other prisons also use these tablets in their education programs. Having educational materials on the tablets would allow the students to continue their studies outside the classroom and remove some security concerns with physical materials sent into the prison. The warden of the prison we are currently working with would like to transition using the tablets for education, but since they are in the middle of a contract year we are not moving forward yet. 
        For all our services we will utilize surveys and discussions with the students, professors, and prison administrators to understand the successes and trouble points of our services. When we acquire a Polycom system for River North Correctional Center, we will test the connection by monitoring the lag and any connection breaks. For the JSTOR device, a big test will be how many students request a source and how long the time is from request to the student having the source. The main goal of our prototype is bringing the best education possible to the incarcerated students so the feedback from those in the incarceration system is vital to the solution’s success.

System Technical Evaluation
        In the first phase of Knowledge Unchained, the pilot course, the technology implemented is ten computers on the students’ workstations where they can watch prerecorded lectures by Dr. Johnson and complete their writing assignments. The students do not have this opportunity often and it is an important feature of the program to keep them engaged in learning the entire time they have access to these materials. 
        Future potential technical aspects of the solution concept are the Polycom video conferencing system, Nucleos secure network, ITHIKA S+R and JSTOR offline and online database, and VR/AR headsets. These technologies address the need for remote access by instructors while still achieving presence within the classroom and the ability to do research and have access to learning materials. Polycom systems are already in use in Virginia correctional facilities to reduce transportation costs and dangers for arraignment and other judicial meetings. This would allow instructors to lecture over video in cases where they cannot drive to the facility. We are purchasing a Polycom system to test it and hopefully get it in the next course delivery.
        The secure network Nucleos is developing creates a secure network for students in prisons to conduct research. They are aiming to address security concerns, but it is unclear how difficult it will be for VADOC to trust and implement this technology. We have found that other states have been able to successfully introduce secure networks similar. In the Louisiana DOC, a software company ATLO partnered with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to begin offering four-year degrees, certifications, and trainings all hosted in an online virtual environment. Their challenge was how to keep incarcerated students from getting out of the virtual environment and its authorized content to the internet and they found Sophos Unified Threat Management for Amazon Web Services (AWS) which was protected using a next-generation firewall, intrusion protection system, web-application firewall, and VPN gateway. This solution allows ATLO to provide engaging and immersive learning hosted on AWS Virtual Private Cloud while remaining secure and within the authorization of the prison. 
        Another technology is the JSTOR offline database that is being created by JSTOR in partnership with ITHAKA S+R. It has indexes of millions of academic journal articles, books, and primary sources on the JSTOR database that students can look through and request access to. If the request is granted, the student will get a hard copy of the material. This solution combines increased access to information with the security of ensuring that all information the students access has been approved. JSTOR believes that there are essential critical thinking skills that are honed through independent research that incarcerated students usually do not have access to. Prisons are required to have law libraries but not academic libraries, which is why less than half of United States prisons have academic libraries. When JSTOR began trying to solve this problem they realized that most incarcerated students do not have access to the internet which is what led to the offline database approach where just the summary of the source was provided that then had to be approved and provided by an administrator. The whole flow ended up taking between two weeks and three months, which is not conducive to a semester course and added a lot of work for the administrators. It is still a major advancement but one that can be improved. The two primary design criteria that JSTOR identified were adaptability and quality student experience, that the solution could work for any prison, and attempting to make the experience as close to what it would be on the outside. The final offline solution has ten TB of storage which is enough for the application, search index, and PDFs for open-access content to be immediately shown once approved.
        Finally, the most ambitious and long-term technical aspect that we have begun looking at is VR/AR headsets. This enabling technology allows students to experience and learn in a virtual environment without leaving the secure facility and is shown to increase engagement and retention of information.
2023–2024 Amendment
        A new design objective for this year is to update the physical space of the classroom that incarcerated learners use. Better environments will foster more productive conversations and improved learning. We expect that by changing even small aspects of the space like the layout of furniture, the shape of the chairs, and the color of décor, students will feel more stimulated and at ease in their environment and their learning.

Market Analysis and Business Plan Finances Figure 6. Projected budget for implementation. 

Market Information
        We began this project during the last academic year by looking into the prison education system and finding where we could address gaps to create not only an innovation within the prison but an innovation in society. Based on the limited resources available (time, finances, and professor interest), we located a prison, River North Correctional Center, that would be able to host our program. The professor teaching the course, Dr. Johnson, would be able to commute to teach the class. 
        Based on our resources, we limited our current short-term market size to the incarcerated population in Southwest Virginia. With proper support and funding, we want to expand to the rest of Virginia, with hopes of implementing this program to the rest of the United States. Therefore, our serviceable obtainable market (SOM) size is the 6,910 individuals incarcerated in Southwest Virginia. Our serviceable addressable market (SAM) is 30,936 individuals incarcerated in Virginia. And, our total addressable market (TAM) is the 2 million incarcerated individuals in the United States. We used this research to move into our project this year to address the question: How can we create opportunities for incarcerated learners to gain college credit in our courses? 
        We have previously struggled to answer this question, because of VADOC regulations, academic rules and regulations, and the potential negative reception of such a program. However, we then discovered the looming enrollment cliff that is facing universities and colleges. This will be a major problem for regional colleges and universities, as they are expected to lose 11% of their students by 2029 (Kline, 2019). We believe that this looming enrollment cliff will make educating incarcerated learners more attractive to smaller colleges and universities. We plan to adjust our solution to create a new program model that will allow us to be the middleman for incarcerated students to receive an education from regional colleges and universities that need more students due to the impact of the enrollment cliff. Providing inmates the opportunity to study from accredited institutions not only gives them the ability to receive a college education but also aids the college with the tuition of another student through Pell Grant funds. We would help incarcerated students apply for the Pell Grant funds, facilitate the learning environment for these students in their prison, and provide them with additional technology resources to complete their assignments and take their classes from these institutions. This would expand our market to the incarcerated populations previously mentioned, as well as the regional colleges and universities we would also be serving. Our SOM would be the five closest four-year institutions that are open enrollment. Our SAM is one of the 35 institutions that have four-year open enrollment. Finally, our TAM is all the four-year colleges and universities in the United States, which is approximately 2,637 institutions (National Center for Education Statistics, 2022). To gather more data on this model, we plan on contacting other institutions that have a similar business model to our solution, like Bard Prison Initiative, and interview our contacts within Virginia Tech about the viability of this solution. 
Diverse Stakeholder Philosophies
        With a wide range of viewpoints and priorities of stakeholders, an obstacle in the execution of this program could take place.. For instance, officials at the VADOC are more focused on precedented methodologies and must prioritize security restrictions in driving decisions regarding technology and education; whereas educators at Virginia Community Colleges have a stronger desire to transform existing systems to allow for a more flexible and aggressive approach. Research reveals that the inmate population, one of our key stakeholders, tends to be skeptical of innovative programs pushed forward by the state, as they often want to ensure the program is truly invested in their wellbeing rather than fulfilling an “agenda.” To curb this risk, it is crucial to address the unique needs across the different stakeholder types (i.e., emphasize safety and security to the VADOC representatives, the “why” to prison management, and trust to inmates.)

Conclusion and Future Work 
        Our broad future work revolves around finding avenues for incarcerated learners to receive official college credit for their work and expanding our course selection. In support of this, we will be updating our business model, finding interested faculty, seeking additional funding sources, and analyzing the policy landscape to implement advanced technologies into our future program. 
        Our team is currently working on connecting with our stakeholders to learn about program updates and investigating a way to change the physical space of the classroom to promote learning that also abides by security regulations. We are also planning a study abroad trip to learn more about prison systems internationally.


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