Fall Semester Brings New Opportunities for Columbia CI’s Second Chance Pell Program


LAKE CITY, Fla.– The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) and Florida Gateway College began the fall semester of Columbia Correctional Institution’s Second Chance Pell Program August 17. This nationally accredited program creates opportunities for inmates to obtain college degrees while incarcerated. Degree tracks focus on in-demand career fields and provide training and tools necessary to succeed in today’s job market.

“Just as students across Florida are returning to educational pursuits this fall, our inmate-students are back in class in pursuit of college degrees,” said FDC Secretary Mark Inch. “This program has been a tremendous success and I am so pleased to see it growing. By expanding opportunities for higher education, we are providing more tools and resources to prepare inmate-graduates for successful re-entry and restoration into their community.”

New this semester is a degree track for the Bachelor of Applied Science in Water Resources Management. This degree path is designed to prepare graduates for positions in the fields of water conservation, resources and policy.

Through this fully accredited program, participants learn about the management and political issues related to water resources. Water-related jobs are some of the fastest growing positions of the decade. FDC is proud to offer this level of higher education in prison programming to inmate-students to assist with a successful transition upon their return to Florida communities.

“What makes this program unique is that it involves a cohort of students who all progress in this living learning environment through their program together. Another difference this semester is that all instruction will be strictly on-line to provide for the safest conditions for our faculty in this COVID 19 age,” said Dr. Lawrence Barrett, President of Florida Gateway College.

Of the 60 currently enrolled inmate-students, 55 had a GPA of 4.0 during the summer semester. During fall and spring semesters, many program participants earn a spot on the Florida Gateway College President’s List for Academic Excellence.