Education

Community colleges help ex-offenders navigate campus life


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Faculty and administrators on about 30 of California's 114 community college campuses have stepped forward to create programs to help formerly incarcerated students adjust to the challenges of campus life.

California community college students as a whole face significant challenges -- research shows that 70% fail to graduate or transfer to four-year schools. Formerly incarcerated students face additional obstacles. Many have problems with reading and writing as well as trouble finding work and a place to live because landlords and employers use criminal records to turn down applications.

Robert Villanueva, who attends Pasadena Community College, is one the formerly incarcerated students who have found help through a campus program. 

“You gotta learn how to trust the process, and not the people, because people always let you down, but not the process,” he said.