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RTI awarded Ascendium grant to evaluate Reentry Campus Program for incarcerated adults and youth

The project aims to gain insights to develop more effective educational opportunity models

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — RTI International, a nonprofit research institute, has been awarded a grant by Ascendium Education Group to evaluate the Rhode Island Reentry Campus Program (RCP) model, which helps adults and youth who are incarcerated successfully transition to postsecondary education and careers post-release.  

“Our goal is to offer insights and guidance for developing more effective educational opportunity models for individuals who experience incarceration,” said Samuel Scaggs, Ph.D., project director and a research criminologist at RTI. “This program aims to strengthen their transition to the community and reduce time and cost for completing a college degree.”  

RTI will conduct a 12-month evaluability assessment as the first step to validating the RCP model. Researchers will identify whether program evaluation is feasible and determine how the model may need to build its capacity to become evaluation ready while also incorporating feedback into the assessment from people with lived experience. This assessment will also inform the design of future RCP evaluations by testing potential evaluation strategies, and instruments and protocols for the program and its participants. 

RCP focuses on increasing education completion rates for people who are currently and formerly incarcerated. It takes an innovative approach to delivering postsecondary education and alleviating some of the biggest barriers to degree and certificate completion, including tailoring learning support and courses to help individuals accelerate their academic progress. It also uses Prior Learning Assessments, which allows learners to earn credits by demonstrating their mastery of academic subjects. RCP also partners with a network of local post-secondary education institutions to offer reduced tuition to its students.

Learn more about RTI’s reentry education research work and framework

About Ascendium
Ascendium Education Group is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to helping people reach the education and career goals that matter to them. Ascendium invests in initiatives designed to increase the number of students from low-income backgrounds who complete postsecondary degrees, certificates and workforce training programs, with an emphasis on first-generation students, incarcerated adults, rural community members, students of color and veterans. Ascendium's work identifies, validates and expands best practices to promote large-scale change at the institutional, system and state levels, with the intention of elevating opportunity for all. For more information, visit https://www.ascendiumphilanthropy.org.

About RTI International
RTI International is an independent, nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition. Clients rely on us to answer questions that demand an objective and multidisciplinary approach — one that integrates expertise across the social and laboratory sciences, engineering and international development. We believe in the promise of science, and we are inspired every day to deliver on that promise for the good of people, communities and businesses around the world. For more information, visit www.rti.org