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After Substance Abuse Treatment And Incarceration: Back To School

Going to college after facing struggles such as incarceration or substance abuse can feel like a daunting task. Alcoholism, drug abuse, and other forms of addiction can leave individuals feeling overwhelmed and uncertain of their ability to further their education. Native Americans, who are disproportionately affected by the criminal justice system, may also feel discouraged from pursuing higher education due to barriers like poverty, racism, and a lack of access to resources.  

A 2018 Prison Policy Initiative report shows that 25 percent of those who have been incarcerated lack a high school diploma or equivalent, which is nearly double the rate for the general public. Additionally, only 4 percent of ex-prisoners hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, while that number is 25 percent among the public population.  

Essentially, Native Americans who have been incarnated or struggle with alcoholism or drug abuse may face various challenges if they want to go back to school.  

Fortunately, there are organizations, programs, and other initiatives that can provide guidance and assistance in the college or back to school process for those who have experienced these challenges. If you fall into this category, this article will discuss best practices for seeking to pursue a college education after overcoming substance abuse or incarceration. It will also provide resources for those facing similar circumstances.  

The Impact on Native Americans  

The criminal justice system disproportionately affects Native American communities, resulting in a high rate of incarceration among the population. Despite the challenges that arise from addiction and incarceration, there are many individuals’ striving to obtain a high school diploma and further their education in higher learning. 

Native Americans who were incarcerated or struggling with addiction may face additional barriers when trying to attend college. These can include poverty, racism, a lack of access to resources, federal financial aid restrictions, and biased admission practices.  In addition, many Native American students may not have reliable internet access or the financial means to pay for tuition costs.  

Despite the challenges, obtaining a college degree can be extremely beneficial, as it can open a wide range of opportunities and improve one’s chances of success in the workforce. Additionally, participation in post-secondary education programs can lead to a significant reduction in recidivism among incarcerated individuals, with research showing that those who participate are 48% less likely to return to prison. 

It is important that special programs are developed to help Native American students overcome these obstacles and succeed in their educational endeavors. Organizations like the American Indian College Fund provide scholarships and resources to assist students in their college-going process. Additionally, universities offering specialized services for those affected by substance abuse or incarceration can be particularly beneficial for Native Americans seeking higher education.  

Resources for Those Facing Similar Circumstances  

Fortunately, there are many resources available for individuals who have been affected by alcoholism, drug abuse, or incarceration. These can range from scholarships and grants to specialized programs that focus on helping those with similar experiences succeed in their college-going process.  

Scholarships specifically designed for those overcoming substance abuse or incarceration can provide much needed assistance.  

The Second Chance Pell Grant 

The Second Chance Pell Grant is a federal grant program for incarcerated individuals who wish to pursue higher education. The program is designed to provide financial aid to eligible inmates who are seeking to earn a post-secondary degree or certificate while still in prison. The grant is intended to help reduce recidivism and improve job prospects for individuals upon release. The program was announced in 2015 by the Obama Administration and was officially implemented in 2016.  

The National Native Alcohol & Drug Abuse Program 

The National Native Alcohol & Drug Abuse Program (NNADAP) is a program that provides resources and services to Native American communities to address substance abuse and addiction. The program is administered by the Indian Health Service (IHS) which is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 

To find more information about the NNADAP scholarship program and other resources available to Native American students, you can visit the Indian Health Service website. There, you can find information about the scholarship program, including eligibility requirements and how to apply, as well as other resources and services. 

Additionally, you can also reach out to the nearest IHS facility or tribal health department for more information about the program and to inquire about any other resources available to assist with educational goals. 

The Arizona Indian Education Association Scholarship 

The Arizona Indian Education Association extends a scholarship that seeks to recognize and support American Indians who have achieved excellence in academics, community service and leadership, as well as been active participants in cultural activities. It is open to any American Indian student living in or attending a school or university within Arizona. 

The Scholarship Committee has extended the deadline for their 2022-2023 Student Scholarship Application until August 26, 2022 

The Tribal Green Reentry Program 

The Tribal Green Reentry Program is a program that seeks to help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully transition into their local communities. This program focuses on providing financial, housing, and job assistance, as well as addressing cultural challenges. In addition to this, the program offers tailored educational opportunities and reintegration support services. The goal of the Tribal Green Reentry Program is to create safe and supportive environments for formerly incarcerated individuals in order for them to successfully reenter their local communities. 

University Specialized Services 

Many universities also offer specialized services aimed at assisting individuals in their academic journey. These programs can include mentoring, counseling, and other resources to help students affected by substance abuse, alcoholism, or incarceration succeed. You will need to reach out to the university administration office and ask for these services.  

Best Practices for Pursuing a College Education  

Familiarizing yourself with the process and planning ahead are key steps to successfully pursuing a college education, regardless of whether you have been previously incarcerated or not. It is important to have realistic expectations and understand that it takes time to achieve educational goals. 

Second, you can research the resources available and make use of them when possible. This includes finding out about scholarships, grants, or other forms of financial aid, as well as specialized programs that provide additional support.  

Additionally, finding a support system and mentors can be very helpful. This could include reaching out to alumni from the same college or university, talking to counselors or advisors, and networking with other individuals who have experienced similar circumstances.  

Finally, it is important to stay motivated and take advantage of any available opportunities for growth. 

Native Americans Returning To School: Conclusion 

In conclusion, although those affected by addiction or incarceration can face additional challenges when looking to pursue higher education, there are resources available to help them succeed. With an understanding of the best practices for going to college after substance abuse and incarceration and access to the appropriate resources, individuals can take advantage of these opportunities and achieve their educational goals.  

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