Getting Out & Staying Out

San Francisco Resources for People Leaving Jails and Prisons

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A college education can be a powerful tool when it comes to supporting yourself, but getting there can seem very challenging. Here’s a basic outline of what you’ll need if a college education is part of your plans.

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  • Graduation from high school and receipt of a high school diploma are admission requirements at many colleges, including those in the California State University system. It is always best to stay in high school to receive your high school diploma, but sometimes it is not possible to do so. There are options available for completing the equivalent to a high school diploma:
    • Passing the California High School Proficiency Examination is the legal equivalent of earning a high school diploma.
    • The General Education Development program (GED) is another examination program that, upon successful completion, offers the equivalent of a high school diploma.
    • Remember that completing either the California High School Proficiency Examination or the GED does not eliminate the high school course requirements or the grades and test requirements.
  • Getting copies of your GED Records: If you already took the GED, you may request copies of your records by contacting the GED Testing Service: Contact:

Preparing to pay for college: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). One of the tools you can use to estimate your eligibility for federal student financial assistance is the Financial Aid Estimator Tool – FAFSA4caster – which is available online at:

You may have heard that if you have been convicted of a felony, you are not eligible to receive financial aid. This is not necessarily true. A student convicted of possession or sale of illegal drugs may have eligibility suspended if the offense occurred while the student was receiving federal student aid (grants, loans, or work-study). When you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you will be asked whether you had a drug conviction for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid. If the answer is yes, you will be provided a special worksheet to help you determine whether your conviction affects your eligibility for federal student aid. You may preview the worksheet in the FAFSA Information section at If you have been convicted of a forcible or nonforcible sexual offense, and you are subject to an involuntary civil commitment upon completion of a period of incarceration for that offense, you are ineligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant.

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Adult Education Center

Episcopal Community Services