Women at the Nebraska Correctional Center in York are earning a college degree while serving their time.

Published: Feb. 19, 2019 at 10:10 PM CST
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For the past three years the women have been taking classes. They hope that once the get out, they have a better chance at a normal life.

"This is my fourth time coming here so I am a habitual criminal," said Bridgette, Incarcerated for Theft.

Bridgette adds that being enrolled in college has made all the difference and when she gets out this time, she won't be back.

"The college course gave me a whole different outlook on what I want to do with my life when I get out," continues Bridgette.

York College is offering the women this unique opportunity.

"It is giving me the hope I had lost when I got here, it's restored that hope," said Seeletter, Incarcerated for arson.

Along with nine other women, Seeletter and Bridgette will be the first group of women to graduate this fall.

"I never thought I would be in prison making my mom proud," adds Seeletter.

"Only 14% of the prison population have a post high school education. So imagine getting out of prison and trying to find a job in the job market , without a college degree and with a prison record it will be hard," said Terry Seufferlein, Associate Professor of Bible, York College.

Something this program is looking to change.

Seuferrlein adds, "They are great students, interested in learning, they ask great questions.

The women have to pay $25 per class. They do have jobs in prison, but earning only about $1.21 a day, so one class is about a month's salary.

"You think you have hit the peak and then they pull something out of the bag and you are amazed again," said Lori Keller, Public Information Officer, Nebraska Correctional Center for Women.

With graduation this fall, the women say they look forward to leaving these prison walls and barbed wire fencing far behind.

"I realized I had more potential than I thought," adds Bridgette.

Seeleter adds, "I just feel wealthy beyond measure."

The staff says this is a great success story for the correctional center. They already have a waiting list of more than 100 women looking to work toward their degree as well.

Prison officials asked us to only use first names of the inmates in order to protect families

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