Rising Scholars at Cuesta
Serving Incarcerated Community College Students at California Men’s Colony State Prison (CMC)
Cuesta College is committed to providing all students at our CMC satellite campus a quality and comprehensive face to face community college education experience.
The mission of the CMC Success through Education Program (STEP) is to ensure that Cuesta students at CMC achieve Cuesta College Institutional Learning Outcomes:
- Personal, Academic, and Professional Development
- Critical Thinking and Communication
- Scientific and Environmental Understanding
- Social, Historical, and Global Knowledge and Engagement
- Artistic and Cultural Knowledge and Engagement
- 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
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.
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
A: Your family member/loved one must have submitted a FERPA release form with you designated as a third-party in order for Cuesta to release any student information to you. Students who are incarcerated at CMC can access and submit this form by visiting the education office at CMC. Learn more about FERPA here.
A: Yes, official transcripts are sent to other colleges at no cost to our CMC students. Students who are incarcerated at CMC must submit an official transcript request form to initiate this step. CMC students can access and submit this form by visiting the education office at CMC.
A: Cuesta only offers in-person instruction at CMC. Our campus does not offer online or correspondence courses at other CDCR facilities. If your loved one/family member is released, they are welcome to return to Cuesta’s campus (online or in person).
A: Students are provided Student Education Plans (SEPs), these plans are created and informed by an academic counselor. Students may request student education plans by completing and submitting a Cuesta communication form; they can access and submit this form by visiting the education office at CMC.
Please note that all communication forms submitted by CMC students are picked up by Cuesta on a weekly basis, the campus responds to these inquiries on paper using (CMC) institutional mail. Due to the volume of inquiries received on a weekly basis, response times are currently delayed.
Educational Merit Credit at CDCR
Cuesta does not have control over the timeline of merit credits issued at CDCR. Cuesta is responsible for delivering official transcripts or grade reports to CMC after grades have closed at the end of each semester, but the timeline of processing falls on CDCR. Learn more about In-Prison Credit-Earning Opportunities.
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.”