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The mission of the Tennessee Higher Education Initiative (THEI) is to provide access to on-site degree-bearing higher education for individuals in Tennessee prisons; to support our students in leading meaningful lives in and outside prison; to prepare our students for successful re-entry; and to help our students become contributing members of our communities.
The Tennessee Higher Education Initiative (THEI) funds and coordinates on-site degree-granting college programs to incarcerated individuals in Tennessee prisons leading to Associate's degrees in one of three major areas: Business Administration, Psychology or Political Science. THEI works in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Correction and colleges and universities in Tennessee, such as Nashville State Community College, in order to make these academic opportunities possible. All credits, certificates and degrees earned behind bars are recognized by and transferable to any Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) college or university, as well as SACS-COC accredited private and public colleges and universities outside of Tennessee. Upon release, THEI encourages and helps formerly incarcerated students continue their academic pursuits on the college campus.