The FPI Scholarship Fund

A special note is needed with this post:

The FPI Scholarship Fund is a part of a work program known as UNICOR. UNICOR is available in federal prisons in the United States.

It should be noted that I have known many inmates to apply for this scholarship and many to inquire about it, but most to no avail. Even when I was writing Education Behind Bars I couldn't find much about it because neither inmates nor staff knew much about it.

My suspicion is that there are only a select few who receive this scholarship at any given federal prison which has a UNICOR program, and because of this staff and inmates don't advertise.

Of course, I have no real proof to this. But I did find it extremely odd that it took me 4 months to procure an application and that was all I was able to obtain. Regardless, here is the section of policy which governs the FPI Scholarship Fund.

"One school period refers to the period of time necessary to complete one course e.g., trimester, quarter, semester.

(2) Individual scholarships ordinarily should not exceed the cost of tuition and books for one course. Where several courses may be taken for the same cost as one, the inmate worker may be allowed to take more than one course.

(3) Scholarship monies are to be paid only to the institution providing instruction, or to the Education Department for transfer of funds to the college, university, or technical institution providing instruction.

(4) An inmate may not receive more than one scholarship per school period.

(5) An inmate must maintain at least a "C" average to be continued as eligible for further assistance.   An inmate earning less than "C" must wait one school period of eligibility before reapplying for further assistance.   Where a course grade is based on a "pass/fail" system, the course must be "passed" to be
eligible for further assistance.

(6) An inmate awarded a correspondence course must successfully complete the course during a school year (e.g., 2 semesters, 3 quarters).

(7) An inmate receiving scholarship aid must have approval from the SOI and the Supervisor of Education before withdrawing from classes for good reason.  An inmate withdrawing or "dropping" courses without permission shall wait one school year before applying for further scholarship assistance.   An inmate
may withdraw from courses without penalty for medical or non- disciplinary administrative reasons  such as  transfer,  writ, release,  etc.,  without  first  securing  permission,  although withdrawals for medical reasons must be certified in writing by the Hospital Administrator.

5. THE FPI SCHOLARSHIP FUND.   §345.84   FPI shall award post-secondary school scholarships to selected, qualified inmate workers. These scholarships provide an inmate with the opportunity to begin or continue with business and industry courses or vocational training as approved and deemed appropriate by the Supervisor of Education.

The course of study should relate to the recipient's career choice and is not restricted to the local institution's FPI factory needs. Inmate workers should complete locally-developed scholarship application forms to be considered for selection.

a. Eligibility Requirements. The SOI and the Supervisor of Education at each institution shall develop application procedures to include, at a minimum, the following criteria:

(1) The inmate shall be a full-time FPI worker. (2) The inmate has a favorable recommendation for participation from his or her work supervisor.

(3) The inmate meets all relevant institution requirements for participation (e.g. disciplinary record, custody level).

(4) The inmate is accepted by the institution of higher learning offering the course or program which is requested.

(5) The inmate must maintain a verifiable average of "C" or better to continue program eligibility.

(6) Before beginning the course of study, the inmate must sign an agreement to provide the SOI with an unaltered, original copy of his or her grades.

b. Scholarship Selection Procedures.       

FPI scholarship awards shall be made by a three member Selection Committee comprised of the SOI, the Supervisor of Education, and one other person designated by the SOI.

c.  Scholarship Program Operation

(1) Ordinarily, one scholarship may be awarded per school period for every fifty workers assigned. At least one scholarship may be awarded at each institution location, regardless of the number of inmates assigned.