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SDSU/Mellon Foundation Post-Carceral Educational Opportunity Program (PCEOP)

SDSU with support from the Mellon Foundation provides a pathway to higher education for previously incarcerated individuals looking for a better future. This program is for post-carceral students meeting SDSU’s admissions standards, with a focus on first-time college students who have been released from incarceration or on probation within the past three to five years. Participants will be regularly enrolled and participate in courses on campus and online like any other student.

Why Enroll in the PCEOP Program?

The Post-Carceral Educational Opportunity Program has three primary goals:

  • Provide student success support programming specifically designed to meet the overall “in-course” learning needs of post-carceral students.
  • Provide academic and student success resources for retention and progression toward degree and/or credential completion for post-carceral students.
  • Provide enrichment programming designed for post-carceral students, e.g., workshops and guest speakers.

Benefits of the program

  • Application & financial aid guidance
  • Academic advising and career counseling
  • Advocacy and mentoring
  • Cohort peer support
  • Non-credit certificate opportunities
  • Support funding, e.g., textbook subsidy.
  • Career portfolio development

Enrollment Process

  • Prospective students must complete our PCEOP application.
  • After the application is reviewed, students meet with program representatives for intake interview.
  • After the intake interview, applicants are informed if they have been accepted into the program.
  • Apply for admission to South Dakota State University. 
    • If you are already a SDSU student, please note this in your PCEOP application.
  • Apply for Federal Financial Aid.
  • Attend Orientation & register for classes.

Program Application

PCEOP Funding

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence and freedom that can be found there. Through its grants, the foundation seeks to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive.