Program Mission

The mission of the CMC Success through Education Program (STEP) is to ensure that Cuesta students at CMC achieve Cuesta College Institutional Learning Outcomes:

  1. Personal, Academic, and Professional Development
  2. Critical Thinking and Communication
  3. Scientific and Environmental Understanding
  4. Social, Historical, and Global Knowledge and Engagement
  5. Artistic and Cultural Knowledge and Engagement
  6. Technological and Informational Fluency

CMC STEP is committed to providing an intellectually rigorous, inclusive Associate of Arts degree program, at no or minimal cost, to its students at CMC; to expand access to quality higher education for incarcerated individuals; and to foster the values of equity, civic engagement, independence of thought, and individual and creative expression.
In the context of a safe, inclusive and supportive environment, CMC STEP fosters knowledge, awareness and skills that are critical to completing a college degree and that significantly enhance an incarcerated individual’s capacity to participate successfully and productively in future endeavors, whether when returning to the community or while still incarcerated.



CMC students in classroom with teacher

Degrees and Certificates

Since the start of the program in Fall of 2015, 355 Associate in Arts (AA) degrees have been awarded to Cuesta students at CMC. Students at CMC are offered two degree pathways: Sociology Associate Degree for Transfer and Associate in Arts- Human Services. On the way to completing these degrees, students often complete the following: 

  • Associate in Arts, Liberal Arts: Arts and Humanities
  • Associate in Arts, Liberal Arts: Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Certificate of Achievement, Addiction Studies Foundation
  • Certificate of Achievement, Personal Fitness
  • Certificate of Specialization, Culinary Arts Foundation



Frequently Asked Questions Regarding CMC Students




When asked, “What motivates you to sign up for college courses at Cuesta?,” our CMC students shared these thoughts.

“I’m interested in furthering my education so that when I parole, I can have more job opportunities and therefore won’t be limited to any specific field.” 
“To better myself in all aspects.”
“To have a degree when I get out to help me be a productive member of society.” 
“I have always had the desire to attend college.”
“A love of knowledge, grow empathy, entertain my brain.” 
“My education will set me free.”