Reimagining the place of higher education.

21st Commencement
Celebrating 63 graduates at Eastern with voting rights icon Desmond Meade.

The Bard Prison Initiative (BPI) works to redefine the availability, affordability, and expectations typically associated with higher education in America.

Since 2001, BPI has created groundbreaking opportunities to radically expand college access in and beyond prisons. All of BPI’s work is done in the service of the capacity and appetite for learning among communities typically excluded from higher education.

Female BPI students and a professor sit around a table discussing class materials.

Today, BPI operates in seven correctional facilities and enrolls over 400 incarcerated students in full-time programs that culminate in degrees from Bard College. Once enrolled, BPI students embark on a rigorous course of study that matches the breadth and intensity of the Bard College learning experience. BPI supports students throughout their enrollment — and beyond — to identify ways that a liberal arts degree can carry forward into long-term plans.

To foster the growth of robust and meaningful college access in prisons well beyond New York, BPI has partnered with other colleges and universities across the country to develop new college-in-prison opportunities through the Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison. The Bard Microcolleges expand BPI’s model outside of the prison system. Formed in partnership with local community organizations and operated by BPI, the Bard Microcolleges bring high-quality, full-scholarship, liberal arts education to communities who have been overlooked or disillusioned by the university system.

BPI In the News

By The Numbers

Students Enrolled
Degrees Conferred

National Engagement, Advocacy and Building a Global Community of Practice

  • By providing your email or phone number, you are agreeing to receive news and updates from BPI via email or text message. You may change your preferences at any time using the link found at the bottom of every email or by replying 'HELP' for help or 'STOP' to cancel text messages.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.