Starting this fall, incarcerated people across California will have the opportunity to earn a fully accredited Master of Arts in Humanities degree from CSUDH.
The groundbreaking program, called HUX, is a partnership between CSUDH and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). It will be the first time CDCR formally partners with California’s public higher education system to offer a graduate degree exclusively for incarcerated students.
CSUDH first established HUX as a correspondence program in the early 1970s. Its subject-matter breadth and affordability helped it become one of the most popular and accessible humanities-based graduate degrees in the country–for both incarcerated and non-incarcerated students–until it ended in 2016.
In 2020, the CSUDH College of Arts and Humanities and College of Continuing and Professional Education began the process of rebooting HUX with a mission to help incarcerated people pursue their academic goals with support from CDCR.
“We wanted to bring back a legacy program that had a proven track record in distance education and tied in with CSUDH’s commitment to social justice,” said Matthew Luckett, program director of HUX. “We recreated this program to be a beacon and a leader within incarcerated education.”
The first HUX cohort will begin in September and includes 33 students across multiple facilities. Students commit to two years of coursework, focusing on subjects within the field of humanities that reflect their own interests and goals. Students work independently, completing coursework through secure laptops and working with faculty through video call and/or written correspondence. Whenever possible, professors will bring together students in the program for discussions and collaborative work.
Under CSUDH and CDCR’s interagency agreement, any incarcerated person within CDCR can apply for HUX if they have already obtained a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and have earned a grade point average of at least 2.5 in past coursework. Before the agreement, students pursuing a graduate degree would have to do so completely independently, via correspondence college, and through out-of-state institutions.
“CDCR is proud to partner with CSUDH to further the Department’s commitment in expanding ‘grade school to grad school’ opportunities and also strengthen collaborative efforts with California’s public higher education system,” said CDCR Secretary Jeff Macomber.
“These efforts are vital, as education serves as a powerful rehabilitative tool–studies show that incarcerated individuals who participate in correctional education are 48% less likely to return to prison within three years than those who didn’t take advantage of these opportunities.”
CSUDH President Thomas A. Parham echoed the importance of providing advanced learning opportunities in correctional settings.
“Transforming lives is what we do at CSUDH,” Parham said. “Our mission is firmly anchored in social justice, and HUX reaffirms our commitment to providing accessible, transformative education.
“This historic partnership between California State University and CDCR benefits students–and ultimately their families and communities–by distinguishing between what people did and who they are at the core of their being, and recognizing their potential, cultivating their talents, and preparing them to thrive in their paths moving forward.”
Tuition for HUX is approximately $10,500, with opportunity for scholarships and grants via the CSUDH financial aid office. In some instances, CDCR may provide assistance not covered by comparable benefits. CSUDH also accepts donations to support the program’s greatest needs to help ensure student success.
“Few programs, academic or otherwise, have as high of a return on investment as prison education programs,” said Luckett. “Our students don’t just stay out of jail–they become leaders in their communities.”
To learn more about HUX and how to apply, contact Matthew Luckett.