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February 2, 2021

UMA receives $941K grant to expand education in Maine prisons

The University of Maine at Augusta has received nearly a million dollars from a charitable nonprofit to expand the school’s educational outreach in Maine’s prisons.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded a $941,000 grant over two years to help expand UMA’s Prison Education Partnership, in which incarcerated Mainers receive instruction from faculty in subjects ranging from art history and literature to social science and restorative justice.

The program began in 2006 at the Maine State Prison in Warren, and since then has awarded over 130 associate and bachelor’s college degrees. Last fall, 82 students were enrolled at five state correctional facilities.

With the Mellon funding, the partnership will expand education across all the state facilities: the Maine State Prison, Maine Correctional Center, Bolduc Correctional Facility, Mountain View Correctional Facility and the Southern Maine Women’s Reentry Center.

The grant funds will support a director to coordinate the partnership, obtain remote technology for teaching when in-person instruction isn’t available, and expand the humanities curriculum through coursework and extracurricular activities with the Maine Humanities Council.

“We are very honored to receive this grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of our Prison Education Partnership,” said UMA President Rebecca Wyke.

“The Prison Education Partnership program is transformational to people’s lives. Providing educational opportunities within Maine’s correctional facilities furthers UMA’s mission to make a college education accessible to all. Most importantly, these educational experiences are invaluable to our incarcerated students, reducing their recidivism rates and improving their employment opportunities upon release.”

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