Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: Can I edit my submission?

A: Yes, you can edit your submission to the 11th NCHEP. To learn how to edit your submission visit ConfTool.

Q: What is the cancelation policy for registration?

A: If you have registered for NCHEP, but are unable to attend, there are a few options for reimbursement outlined below. All requests must be sent in writing to

  • Prior to August 30, 2021 - Full refund, or transfer of registration to another person.
  • From September 1, 2021 to October 11, 2021 - No refund offered, however you may transfer a registration to another person.

After October 11, 2021 - No refund or transfer of registration permitted.

Q: When and where will the 11th NCHEP be hosted?

A: The next NCHEP is scheduled for November 11-14, 2021 in Denver, in person, at the Denver Marriott Tech Center located at 4900 S. Syracuse Street, Denver, Colorado 80237. We hope to see you there! 

Q: What are the COVID-19 Guidelines in Denver, CO and what if they change? 

A: The current COVID-19 Guidelines in Denver will allow for us to host the 11th NCHEP in person. We know that this is always subject to change, and we are actively monitoring the evolving situation: we will adjust our plans as necessary to ensure the health and well-being of the conference attendees, and we will promptly communicate updates and changes as soon as they are available. Please feel free to view the City and County of Denver website for more information. 

Q: What is the theme of the 11th NCHEP and how was it decided?

A: After consulting with the community, which was invited to offer ideas and feedback through a standing survey and two public Planning Sessions, the theme that will frame the 11th NCHEP is: What is To Be Done? 

Posed more than a century ago, this burning question has since inspired generations of revolutionaries to interrogate the intersections of theory and practice, to reflect upon their own positionalities in the face of power and oppression, and to seek the most effective strategies to collectively organize and build resistance. We expect many answers to this question, given the diversity of views that make up the field of higher education in prison, including those by current and former students, program directors, activists, scholars, and other community members. Please visit the Call for Submissions to learn more about the theme What is To Be Done?

Q: Will the 11th NCHEP be a hybrid conference?

A: It depends on one’s definition, but we believe our answer this year is ‘yes.’ It will be hybrid in the sense that keynote speakers and plenary sessions are likely to be streamed and/or recorded, and in the sense that those inside will be able to present remotely as they did with the Virtual NCHEP (and with all past national conferences). To make sure scholars who are currently incarcerated (or those who cannot travel to Denver) can participate, we are planning a remote three-day session that will be held the week following the in-person NCHEP (November 17-19, 2021). We will also be using our communications channels (social media, website, etc.) to enrich the experience. But no, not all sessions will be recorded or live-streamed: we believe it is important to support and encourage participation in the face-to-face format of being in community. 

Q: What are the submission deadlines for the 11th NCHEP? 

A: For all the 11th NCHEP formats, the submission portal will open on Friday, June 25, 2021 at 12:00pm ET. The deadline for submissions is Friday, August 6, at midnight ET (the deadline was extended from the original date of July 26, 2021). The deadline for submissions is extended for those who are currently incarcerated. Please make sure to have the proposals submitted by Monday August 16, at midnight ET

Submissions from scholars who are currently incarcerated can be sent in three different ways: 

  1. Directly through the submission portal or
  2. With the support of a delegate through the submission portal; or 
  3. Through regular mail: Alliance for Higher Education in Prison, Attn: NCHEP Submission, 1801 N. Broadway, Room 417, Denver, CO 80202 

 If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at or via the mailing address above.

Q: Can people who are currently incarcerated submit a proposal and present at the conference?

A: Absolutely. Those who are currently incarcerated are encouraged to apply and will be able to participate in the 11th NCHEP via a virtual connection which can be arranged for any of the presentation types. Additionally, currently incarcerated scholars will be able to send a pre-recorded presentation, appoint a delegate who will read their work, or take part in a remote three-day session that will be held the week following the in-person NCHEP (November 17-19). The details of this extra virtual session, through which we hope to accommodate anyone who cannot travel to Denver, will be announced at the beginning of the Fall. 

Q: Can you tell me more about the submission process for the 11th NCHEP?

  • Can I submit an individual paper?

A: The submission formats have changed this year. We decided to spark more collaboration in the field by encouraging its actors to submit proposals for ‘Open Conversations’, ‘Roundtables’, ‘Workshops’, and ‘Meetings’. Please see the full Call for Submissions for more detailed information. 

  • How do I submit a proposal to the 11th NCHEP? 

A: The submission portal will be hosted by ConfTool. All the submission formats detailed in our Call for Submissions are accessible through the Submission Portal (open Friday, June 25, 2021).

  • When does the submission portal open? 

A: For all the 11th NCHEP formats, the submission portal will open on Friday, June 25, 2021 at 12:00pm ET. 

  • When will the submission portal close?

A: The deadline for submissions is Friday, August 6, at midnight ET and Monday, August 16, at midnight  ET for those who are currently incarcerated. 

  • When will we know if our submissions have been accepted or declined?

A: Notifications of acceptance or decline will be sent in August and September, respectively. 

Q: How long is a session at NCHEP?  

A: All sessions, regardless of the type (e.g., ‘Open Discussion’, ‘Roundtable’, ‘Workshop’, and/or ‘Meeting’), will last 75 minutes.

Q: Will I be provided with a computer for my presentation?

A: No. If you have audio/visual elements to your presentation, you will have to bring your own computer and connector/adapter/dongle to the conference-provided projector (see next response).

Q: What technology will be provided for presentations?

A: Presentation needing visual aids will be scheduled in rooms that are equipped with a projector, screen, and audio/visual connections. However, you will need to bring your own device (e.g., computer, tablet) for presenting and displaying the presentation, as well as the necessary tools (connector/adapter/dongle) to connect your device to the projector. 

Q: Who will review my presentation?

A: Each year a team of external reviewers apply and are selected to review submissions. All proposal reviewers have experience and/or expertise related to the topic for which they have been selected as a reviewer, and reviewers represent the dynamic makeup of the field.

Q: What are the review criteria for submissions? 

A: All submissions will be reviewed by at least two volunteer reviewers from the higher education in prison community. Reviewers will engage in an open-review process, which means that reviewers will know the identity of the submitters and submitters will know the identity of the reviewers. The decision to engage an open-review practice is part of an effort to bring more transparency and equity to this submission process.

Reviewers will be asked to provide narrative feedback to submitters and address the following questions: 

  • Did the submitter tend to honor the submission directions, including the word limits?
  • Is the selected presentation format appropriate for the proposals?
  • Is content of this proposal is compelling?
  • Does the proposal present original content/ideas?
  • Does the content of this proposal foster meaningful conversations or interactions?
  • Does the proposal outline clear and compelling ideas for how the audience/participants will be engaged (or offers a good explanation for why they will not be) during the discussion or presentation?
  • Does the proposal advance the conference theme (‘What is To Be Done?’) in an impactful way?

For a full overview of the Submission Review Process.

Q: How many proposals can I submit?

A: Conference participants may only be the lead submitter for one proposal to the 2021 NCHEP. Conference space is limited, and as the conference grows, we do not have the capacity to support presenters making multiple proposals. It is possible to be a co-presenter on additional sessions, but the session will need to be submitted by someone else.

Q: How and when will I know if my submission was accepted or declined?

A: The Alliance for Higher Education in Prison will represent the decision of the External Reviewers by sending an email or letter to the person who submitted the proposal with an accept/decline decision message included. Presenters who have identified co-presenters in their proposals should also notify their co-authors/presenters at this stage.

Q: If I submit to an ‘Open Discussion’ and it is accepted, how and when will I know who else I am submitting with?

A: ‘Open Discussion’ submissions are grouped together based on the topic selected. You will be notified of the other discussants presenting at the same time when you are assigned a moderator for your presentation.

Q: What services are available for accommodation requests?

A:NCHEP will make every effort to support accommodation requests and the full participation of all attendees. Please contact no later than October 1, 2021 to request any needed accommodations or include your accommodation request(s) during the registration process. If you have dietary preferences, please be sure to mark those on the space provided on the registration form when you complete it.

Q: Can you tell me more about Registration to the 11th NCHEP?

  • How do I register? 

A: The registration portal will open in July 2021. Once it is opened this section will be updated to indicate all the necessary links.

  • Registration Fees

A: Registration fees cover the cost of individual attendance to NCHEP, which includes all sessions, special events, meals, and coffee breaks during the conference. Registration will open in July and the fee will be announced at that time. When registration opens there will also be an opportunity to apply for a financial aid package to attend the conference which will provide support for registration, accommodations, meals and travel. 

Q: Who is eligible for Financial Aid and how do I apply for a Financial Aid package?

A: Financial Aid packages are available for anyone without institutional support to travel to Denver, CO for the 11th NCHEP. People who are formerly incarcerated will be prioritized for Financial Aid. Eligibility requirements and the application for the Financial Aid package will be available in July 2021, and the application process will be announced at the same time that the Registration Portal is announced and opens. To stay informed, please sign up for the Alliance's Newsletter or check the NCHEP website.  

Q: What does it mean to be an Emerging Scholar, and who can use the designation?

A: Emerging Scholars are, for example, undergraduate or graduate students (formerly incarcerated or not) starting, or at the very early stages of, their scholarly careers. Alternatively, they may be scholars who have little experience with conference presentations. This community may also include those new to the NCHEP conference. The intention of this designation is to ensure that the conference experiences provide effective learning opportunities for all participants, and that the presentation review process is equitable and accessible to communities across the field. If this designation is selected, the Emerging Scholar will present with other Emerging Scholars whenever possible, and scholars accepted under the Emerging Scholars designation will access support from the Conference Planning Team in order to prepare their presentations.

Q: How can I ask more questions? 

A: There are three ways to receive more information: 

  1. Send us an email:; or 
  2. Use the Comments/Suggestions link on our website (and we will add answers to this FAQ);

Share anonymous feedback on this year's conference planning by completing this form.


What is the purpose of the National Conference on Higher Education in Prison (NCHEP)?

The overall purpose of NCHEP is to provide an annual opportunity for the higher education in prison community to gather and mobilize the talent, resources, and energy needed to expand access to quality higher education and academic reentry support services to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people. 

When was the first NCHEP and who hosted it?

The Education Justice Project at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, hosted the first NCHEP in 2010. About 75 people attended the 2.5-day conference. 

When did the Alliance for Higher Education in Prison start hosting NCHEP?

The Alliance started hosting NCHEP in 2017, which was the 7th annual NCHEP. The Alliance recognized that by hosting NCHEP on an annual basis, it could provide stability and consistency while increasing accessibility and equitable opportunity to those interested in attending the conference, which is a growing number each year, and alleviate the responsibility of assuming the  significant costs (material and individual) from any program in the community.  

How is NCHEP funded?

A mix of private foundation funding and individual donations supports the conference. This funding helps cover the costs of the conference from hotel space to financial aid. Individual registration fees help to cover the expenses related to attendance, including all meals for all attendees. Registration fees do not support the  Financial Aid Program, which is solely supported by funds raised by the Alliance. 

Who plans the NCHEP? 

The Alliance for Higher Education in Prison first hosted the NCHEP in 2017, the 7th annual conference. Planning involved a collaboration between staff, the Alliance Advisory Board, and a planning committee made up of 12-15 self-nominated community members. After carefully compiling comprehensive Exit Reports (available here), which include extensive feedback from the community and the team’s honest assessments of previous NCHEPs, the Alliance decided to perform several changes in the way the conference will be planned, starting in 2021. More specifically, the Alliance’s intention is to continue evolving in the way it engages the community, and in the ways the community can engage the Alliance and the broader field of higher education in prison in return. In an effort to offer opportunities for more community members to participate in the planning process, we will solicit community suggestions, ideas, and feedback through multiple open discussions and surveys on topics such as the conference theme, keynote speakers, special events, etc. The Alliance believes that these efforts will generate a significant structure for the planning of the 2021 NCHEP and of future conferences. Visit our webpage to stay updated about the changes that will be in place for the National Conference on Higher Education in Prison.

Why has NCHEP moved around each year?

Year after year, NCHEP has grown in both attendance and the types and number of events it has offered. By 2016, almost 300 people were registering for the conference! Organizing the conference presented a big undertaking and volunteers did most of the work. Organizations – universities, higher education in prison programs, and community partners – took turns hosting the conference as a way to share the workload as well as the financial burden associated with hosting. An official selection process did not exist; conference hosts were always identified and selected “on the spot” at the end of the previous year’s conference. The conference being hosted in various locations helps to ensure community members and programs in those cities can attend the conference while also providing new opportunities for connection and collaboration with community members who may not have been able to attend a conference before. The Alliance makes an effort to keep the conference within the Mountain or Central Timezones: it is our hope that this factor will alleviate the burden of traveling through multiple time zones for many participants. Additionally, we try to host NCHEP in cities that are easily accessible in order to keep the potential costs of travel as low as possible.  

Why has the registration fee fluctuated year-to-year?

The cost of the conference fluctuates, depending on the location in which the conference will be held (city and hotel). Individual registration fees help to cover the expenses related to attendance (i.e., audio/video technology, meals, printing) and allow other funding that is raised to be used for Financial Aid packages for community members who would be unable to attend otherwise. 

What does it cost to host the NCHEP? 

The cost for each NCHEP is different depending on location, market prices, amount of attendees, etc. Please visit the Exit Reports to view the cost of past conferences hosted by the Alliance. 

Who can apply for NCHEP Financial Aid packages, and how are they funded?  

Anyone without institutional/program travel support is eligible to apply for financial aid, but formerly incarcerated students are prioritized. Scholarships are funded by private foundation support that is raised by the Alliance. Scholarships are not funded by registration fees. Respondents to the 2019 Exit Surveys indicated that the financial aid packages, by and large, provided support for the full cost of the conference, including registration, transportation, hotel, and all meals for the duration of the conference.

How can I find out more about the NCHEP? 

Please visit the About the NCHEP page on the Alliance’s website for information about the NCHEP (past and present).

How can I ask more questions? 

There are three ways to receive more information: 

  1. Send us an email:; or 
  2. Use the Comments/Suggestions link on our website (and we will add answers to this FAQ);
  3. Share anonymous feedback on this year's conference planning by completing this form.


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