Rising Scholars Program

graduation caps in the sky.

Spotlight: First Graduate of BC's Rising Scholars Program

Bakersfield College saw its first Rising Scholars Program cohort graduate on August 28, 2019. These seventeen students at Kern Valley State Prison received their associate's degrees after making the decision to utilize this opportunity and better their future with education.

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Rising Scholars Program Overview

Bakersfield College serves individuals currently incarcerated in five California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation facilities.

Components of the Program

Inside of Prison

  • Transfer-level courses within the CSU Breadth pattern in partnership with five prisons.
  • More than 2,400 enrollments in the first two years of the program.
  • Support to the KVSP, B Yard Debate Club.

Outside of Prison

  • The on-campus club, "Free on the Outside," included more than 10 members within the first month. Three students who were formerly incarcerated were elected within the Student Government Association.
  • Serve re-entry facilities with matriculation, guest speaking, and serve on a local advisory committee
  • Partnerships with community, criminal justice, and non-profit agencies

Program Details


  • Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP)
  • North Kern State Prison (NKSP)
  • California State Prison, Corcoran (COR)
  • California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison (SATF)
  • Wasco State Prison (WSP)

Programs Offered

  • CSU General Education Breadth
  • AA-T in Communication Studies
  • Certificate of Achievement in Communication
  • AA-T in Psychology
  • AA-T in Sociology
  • AA-T in History
  • Free on the Outside (FOTO) Student Club

Graduate with diploma, icon.


"We know that Bakersfield College volunteers to serve us and we want them to know we appreciate their work." Program Scholar
"We understand why the program exists and how we can create opportunity for other people currently incarcerated." Program Scholar
"For a few hours a week, we feel human again." Program Scholar