Prison College Program
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q. Is Adams State University (ASU) accredited?
 Yes, ASU is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (Probationary Status). This is the highest level of accreditation in the United States. The six (6) regional accrediting agencies for post-secondary education in the United States are:
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Any post-secondary institution not accredited by one of the aforementioned agencies should raise concerns.


Q. Will my credits transfer to another school?
A. Transferability of credit is based on the decision of the institution accepting the credits. With our level of accreditation, there is a high likelihood the receiving institution would accept your credits from ASU. Having noted this, it is highly recommended you seek pre-approval of your credits from the college or university you are planning to transfer the credits to for your degree program.

Q. I am interested in your distance degree program, but already have some college credits. Will they be accepted into your program?
A. Prior to your official enrollment in the Distance Degree Program, an advisor can complete a free "unofficial" evaluation of your previous college work. In the "unofficial" evaluation, the advisor will attempt to show where your previous college credits fit into the ASU degree requirements. If you have earned vocational credits and/or certificates through the military or Department of Corrections (DOC), please submit those as well.

Q. Some of my college credits were taken more than 10 years ago. Will these credits still apply to my degree?
A. We will take a look at all of your previous course work. Elective and general education credit over 10 years of age may be applied toward your degree. However, any college credit earned more than 10 years before the date of admission or re-admission is not applicable toward your major core or emphasis requirements unless it is approved by the department chair of your intended major.

Q. Where do I send my transcripts for the "unofficial" evaluation?
A. You may request in writing the unofficial evaluation and include copies of your transcripts for review. Please provide contact information such as your mailing address. For this purpose, the transcripts may be unofficial copies, but must be legible. The transcripts and letter should be sent to:

Adams State University
Office of Extended Studies
208 Edgemont Blvd., Suite 3000
Alamosa, CO 81101
Fax: 719-587-7974


Q. How does the course completion process work?
  1. When you are ready to take a course, you will need to send in a course registration form with payment. Once we process your course registration, we send you a course study guide and syllabus. Books are not included in the price and must be purchased separately.
  2. The course study guide and syllabus will let you know your assignments and course guidelines. Make sure to read the syllabus and general instructions prior to starting the course.
  3. From there, you will work on your course and course assignments.
  4. Some courses require you to take a test. When you are ready to take a test, you will send in an exam request form located in your study guide that will be filled out and signed by you and your proctor.
  5. Once you have completed and submitted all your required work, you will receive a final grade for the course.
  6. When your final grade has been posted in our system, you will then receive a mailed complimentary official transcript with your final grade.

Q. How long do I have to complete a course?
A. You have one full calendar year to complete a course from the date of course registration.

Q. Can I correspond and get input and feedback from my professor?
A. Yes. All professors require a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) for correspondence. How to correspond with your professor will be noted in your course syllabus and study guide.


Q. Do I need ACT or SAT scores to take course at Adams State University?
A. We do not require your SAT/ACT scores if you (1) have already completed a minimum of 12 credit hours of transferrable credit and/or (2) are seeking admission to the Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree programs. If you do not have a completed SAT/ACT or suitable transfer courses, you will be required to complete our English and math placement exams before you take any math or English courses as a degree seeking student.


Q. Do you offer a payment plan?
A. No. Full course tuition payment is required at the time of course registration.


Q. How do I become admitted to Adams State and the Distance Degree Program?

A. In order to proceed with admission to our program, you will need to submit an application for admission and a hand-written explanation of crime/felony. We will also need official transcripts from all previously attended post-secondary institutions. If you do not have any previous college credit or less than 12 transferable college credits, we will need an official high school transcript or official GED score report. Failure to provide official transcripts from all previously attended colleges/universities may delay your admission or result in dismissal or rejection. The transcripts must be official and must be mailed directly from the previously attended institution to:

Adams State University

Office of Extended Studies

208 Edgemont Blvd., Suite 3000

Alamosa, CO 81101

Q. Do I have to be admitted to ASU in order to take correspondence courses?
A. No. You may take courses for any reason such as transfer to other schools, personal enrichment, or to improve your skills in a specific area. All you need to do is select the course you want to take, complete a course registration from, and provide payment in full for the specified tuition. In fact, you can simply register and pay for courses you would like to take now. Courses you take with us will be added to your degree program with ASU when and if you decide to become a degree seeking student.

Q. Do I have to wait for a new semester or to be fully admitted at ASU in order to begin courses?
A. No. You can start courses whenever you wish. You will have one year to complete a course from the date of course registration.

Q. What are the differences between the Application for Admission to Undergraduate Distance Degree Program and the Correspondence Registration forms?
A. The Admission to Undergraduate Distance Degree Program form is only used when you want to become fully admitted into ASU as a degree seeking student. The Correspondence Registration form is used for course registration purposes only and does not require full admission to a degree program.

Q. What options can I use to complete an Adams State degree?
A. We offer a wide range of options that include using credits from previous college work, distance learning (correspondence) courses, online courses, CLEP/DANTES, and military or civilian training.


Q. Can I test out of a class?
A. It is the policy of ASU to accept a maximum of 30 transfer credits from approved College Level Examination Program (CELP) and DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST) with no more than 18 credits coming from the CLEP general examinations. However, your facility will need to, if it is not already, become a DANTES or CLEP testing facility. Please write us for a list of acceptable DANTES and CLEP exams.


Q. Why do I have to write a crime statement?
A. We are required by law to obtain this information only if you wish to become admitted as a degree seeking student to ASU. You should know, your statement in no way will hurt or impact your academic offerings and academic career through the Distance Degree Program. We just need a brief statement regarding your felony conviction. We do not need this information if you do not wish to be admitted as a degree seeking student.


Q. Can I earn an ASU degree without coming to campus and without the use of a computer and internet?
A. Yes. Numerous degrees are available via print-based correspondence: Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Arts- Business emphasis, Associate of Science- Business emphasis, Bachelor of Arts- Business Administration, Bachelor of Science- Business Administration (emphasis areas: General Business, Legal Studies, Small Business Management or Management), Bachelor of Arts- Sociology (emphasis areas: Social Welfare or Criminology), Bachelor of Arts- English/Liberal Arts, Bachelor of Arts- Interdisciplinary Studies, Bachelor of Arts- Government, and Bachelor of Arts- History. ASU has a long history of offering print-based correspondence courses to incarcerated individuals throughout the United States. Therefore, we completely understand the restrictions and challenges you currently face.


Q. What are the costs?
A. The current cost of a print-based course is $185 per credit (courses run with the Center for Legal Studies have slightly higher tuition). A one-time matriculation fee of $100, which is assessed after you submit your first course registration, is waived. Tuition and any fees for the ASU Distance Learning courses are listed in the catalog and on the Extended Studies web site. Most courses have basic tuition charges, but some may have additional material fees. The cost of textbooks is not included in the course tuition. Textbooks can be purchased from the ASU Bookstore or through any vendor of your choice. It is strongly advised you consult with your facility regarding book guidelines before you place your book order.

Q. Do I have to pay for the whole program at one time?
A. No. Each course is paid for separately.


Q. Is financial aid available?
A. Congress removed federal financial educational aid for incarcerated individuals when the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act passed in 1994. Therefore, no federal aid in the form of Pell Grants or guaranteed loans is available to students in state or federal correctional facilities. If you are a veteran or a child of a veteran, you may be eligible for veteran’s educational benefits. Most incarcerated students utilize private sources of funding to pay for their education. This can include funding from savings, family members, supporters, Tribes, church groups, non-profit organizations, etc.

Upon release from federal or state prison, you may be eligible for federal aid. You must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at In addition, you must be admitted to a degree seeking program. Again, just remember that you cannot use or access any Pell Grant or federal student loan funds while you are incarcerated.


Q. Do you accept the GI Bill?
A. Yes. All questions regarding GI Bill funding should to go to our:


Q. Will I be able to contact my advisor if I have questions?
A. Yes. You will have a dedicated advisor and will be provided with your advisor's telephone number, mailing address, and e-mail address. Your advisor will answer any questions you may have and will assist you with mapping out the completion of your degree.

Q. Because I have limited access to communication, can a family member or friend correspond with ASU for me?
A. Yes. When you are admitted, you will be provided with a Third Party Release form which will allow you to designate whom you authorize ASU to release your student educational and/or financial information to. In order for ASU to disclose specific information about your education or finances to family members, friends, or acquaintances, please complete this Third Party Release form.


Q. What if a required course is not available through the mail?
A. Your advisor will work with you to find a suitable substitute print-based course if one of your required courses in your degree program is unavailable in a print-based format when you need to take it.


Q. How will I obtain my textbooks?
A. Upon registration you will receive a course study guide and syllabus. These documents will note what books are required or recommended for the course. Although you are not required to purchase books through the ASU bookstore, the ASU bookstore can provide you with all textbook information for courses offered through the Distance Degree Program except for courses offered through the Center for Legal Studies. It is strongly advised you consult with your facility regarding book guidelines before you place your book order. You may reach the bookstore at:

Adams State University Bookstore
Student Union Building
208 Edgemont Blvd., Suite 3140
Alamosa, CO 81101
800-548-6679 ext. 7981

Books for courses offered by The Center for Legal Studies may be ordered by writing:
The Center for Legal Studies
523 Park Point Drive, Suite 320
Golden CO, 80401
800-522-7737 or online at


Q. Will I need a proctor?
A. The majority of print-based courses include exams that must be proctored.  A proctor must be employed at a testing center that will be verified by ASU.


Q. How long has Adams State been around?
A. Adams State University was founded in 1921 as a teacher's college, but now offers a variety of programs including Master degrees in many fields. Billy Adams, a Colorado legislator who would later become a 3-term governor of Colorado, worked for three decades before obtaining the authorization to found Adams State Normal School in 1921. His goal was to provide higher education opportunities for teachers from remote and rural areas of Colorado and see them work in those same areas such as the San Luis Valley.

Q. How long have you worked with incarcerated students?
A. We have worked with incarcerated students for over 20 years. Our dedicated Prison College Program Advisor coordinated/directed a face-to-face college program inside of Colorado prisons for over 12 years and has been working with incarcerated individuals for over 21 years.


Q. Will I earn semester or quarter credits?
A. You will earn semester credits.

Q. How many courses can I take at one time?
A. You can take up to 20 credit hours per semester.

Q. What if I am moved or released from my correctional facility while I am enrolled in a course?
A. If you are moved while in our program, simply let us know your new address in writing so that we may change our records. You may continue in our program for as long as you wish, including upon your release. It is highly recommended to notify your instructor of the move as soon as possible. In some cases, an extension can be requested from and approved by your instructor. Extensions are based on the decision of the instructor of the course.

Q. How do correspondence courses appear on the ASU transcript?
A. Credit earned through correspondence is listed on your transcript exactly as an on-campus course would.

Q. Will my diploma from ASU note that I am incarcerated?
A. No. You will receive the exact same diploma that is awarded to an on-campus student.

Q. When I complete all my requirements, when will my degree be awarded?
A. Your degree will be awarded at the end of the semester in which you completed your final courses. You will work with your advisor to complete the necessary graduation documents needed to apply for graduation in the term that you plan to complete all coursework required for your degree.

Q. Can I get help from the ASU librarian?
A. Yes. You can write the librarian for help on research articles. Please write to:

Access Services Librarian
Nielsen Library
Adams State University
208 Edgemont Blvd., Suite 4010
Alamosa, CO 81101

Q. Can I get help after I graduate?
A. We will help you anyway we can when you graduate. We have an Office of Career Services whose goal is to prepare students and alumni to successfully navigate the job search or graduate school application process.

Contact Us

719-587-7671 or
toll free 1-800-548-6679