Our Guiding Documents

A man places sticky notes with handwritten notes on a white board with large writing visible "Culture of Punishment" "Why does this challenge matter?"

Co-created and Community-centered

The following guiding documents help tell the story of how the Alliance for Higher Education in Prison was formed and where we are headed. We hope they can also serve as templates for other organizations and higher education in prison programs seeking support with strategic planning, fundraising and communications and community building.


The Alliance Prospectus is a result of a yearlong stakeholder engagement process (2016) that involved more than 300 people working in and/or engaging with the emerging field of higher education in prison. Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison and the Saint Louis University Prison Education Program spearheaded the process that included research and interviews with other national organizations, stakeholder feedback collected via surveys (online and paper) and focus groups and strategic planning workshops. The Prospectus is a summary of that work, and the purpose, vision and mission that eventually formed the foundation of the Alliance for Higher Education in Prison.

Strategic Plan

The Alliance’s three-year strategic plan enables us to focus the network’s efforts and maximize our work to advance the field of higher education in prison. Our strategic plan outlines in detail our priority areas and goals. The strategies and tactics laid out in the strategic plan help the Alliance fulfill its mission to support the expansion of quality higher education in prison, empower students while in prison and after release, and shape public discussion about education and incarceration and uphold its values.

Fundraising Plan

The Alliance receives generous support from individuals and private foundations committed to increasing educational opportunities for currently and formerly incarcerated students and who see the need for a collaborative network to support quality programming. Our three-year fundraising plan outlines our fundraising commitments, goals and activities. As a network, we are committed to implementing fundraising strategies that result in sustainability for the Alliance and the emerging field of higher education in prison, as long as they are needed. We are also working to create opportunities for funders to engage in co-learning opportunities and have been collaborating with a group of funders to support their networking and resource sharing efforts.

Communication Plan

Our communication plan is intended to help the Alliance (its Advisory Board and staff) deliver timely, relevant and engaging information to its members and the public. By delivering consistent and engaging communication, the Alliance hopes to inspire more people to join its collaborative and inclusive work. The Alliance’s communication plan is a living document that will change over time as the organization grows.

Our Policies

Resource Sharing Guidelines

The Alliance for Higher Education in Prison is invested in ensuring that higher education in prison programs across the country have opportunities to engage in peer-to-peer learning. We encourage programs to share information and resources and to learn from each other, in an effort to improve the quality of all higher education in prison programs. Please refer to the following citation guidelines when utilizing or adapting program materials.

The Alliance for Higher Education subscribes to the Creative Commons Attribution: NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA). All materials shared on the Alliance for Higher Education in Prison’s website follow this license. This copyright licensing allows others to remix, adapt and build upon work for non-commercial purposes, as long as they credit and license their new creations under the identical terms.

While material provided may often fall within 'fair use' or 'fair dealing' provisions, we recommend adding a preferred citation to each document you share, in order to ensure that others will engage in appropriate attribution of materials. The Alliance offers two sample citation format options below, but programs are welcome to choose another preferred citation format or a format in accordance with your discipline’s recognized citation requirements.

Online Resource

Author Last Name, Author First Initial or Organization Name (if not authored by an individual author(s). (year). Title of document. Location (City, State): Organization. Retrieved from: website (without www. and/or http://).

Online Resource Example Authored by Individual Author(s):

Johnson, E., & Wright, P. (2014). College in Prison Project Student Handbook. Topeka, Kansas: Kansas College in Prison Project. Retrieved from: kansascipp.org

Print Resource

Author Last Name, Author First Initial or Organization Name (if not authored by an individual author(s). (year). Title of document. Location (City, State): Organization.

Print Resource Example Authored by Program:

Kansas College in Prison Project. (2014). College in Prison Project Student Handbook. Topeka, Kansas: Kansas College in Prison Project.

Community Wellness

All staff, members, volunteers and event participants are accountable for conducting themselves in a manner that upholds and promotes the Alliance's values. We expect everyone to promote a culture of sensitivity, inclusivity, care, understanding and patience, trust and integrity. We believe that everyone is an equal member of our community and has the right to an environment that is inclusive and welcoming. If we are to be a healthy community we must care for each other and treat each other with respect, including the language we use. Our policies and procedures are not only designed to minimize risk and do no harm, but also to support each other and to respect the community and environment in which we live and work. We will continue to review and improve our processes, including our policies, to enhance our everyday conditions and ensure a healthy experience for all.

Indirect Cost Policy

Indirect costs are general overhead and administration expenses that support the entire operations of a grantee and that may be shared across projects. Examples of indirect costs include the salary and related expenses of individuals working in rent, utilities, equipment and services such as accounting, IT and legal. Indirect costs are not normally charged directly to a Federal award, but are allocated equitably to all of the organization’s activities. Expenses that would be incurred regardless of whether the grant is funded are often indicative of indirect costs. While these costs may not be directly attributable to a project, they are real and necessary to operate as an organization.

The Alliance’s Maximum Indirect Cost Rates

Indirect cost rates for grants are subject to the following limitations:

0% rate: government agencies or colleges/university

Up to 10% rate: independent non-profit organizations (501c3) or non-profit organizations with fiscal sponsor status

A grantee or contractor with an actual indirect cost rate lower than the maximum rate provided above should not increase the funding request to the maximum allowed.

The potential grantee should communication with the Alliance in advance of submission if there are questions or concerns about the indirect cost rate.

Communication Policies

  1. We are committed to open and transparent communication
  2. We value face-to-face communication, when possible
  3. We encourage feedback, discussion
  4. We make time, each week for discussion
  5. We value diversity of thought
  6. All communication must be truthful and ethical
  7. We are committed to communicating both good and bad news in a reasonable timeframe, ensuring both expedience and thoughtful consideration
  8. We believe in treating all members of our community in ethical and responsible ways, including using humanizing language