The Rising Hope curriculum studies Judeo-Christian tradition from a purely academic perspective.  Students of any or no faith tradition are welcome and there is no proselytizing.

Rising Hope embarked on an ambitious project to obtain recognition for the quality of the courses which we offer.  To that end fifteen of our courses have been evaluated by National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS), an agency which is part of the New York State Board of Regents. Teams of three professors reviewed syllabi, learning objectives and samples of written work and examinations for each of our courses.  Each course was recommended for 3 credits of college level work.  More information and descriptions of each course can be found at
Read more about Transfer Credits below

Our students have two semesters of school, with each semester having courses meeting five evenings per week for fifteen weeks.  Two of our facilities offer the College Writing I course during the summer preceding the first full semester in the fall.

The courses which are offered are dependent on the availability of a qualified volunteer teacher for that particular facility.

The following courses have received unconditional NCCRS recommendation:

College Writing I 

Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Issues

Family Counseling 

History of Christianity I 

History of Christianity II: From the Reformation to the Present


Introduction to Counseling 

Introduction to Human Services 

Introduction to Sociology 

Introduction to the Hebrew Bible 

Introduction to the New Testament

Introduction to the World Religions 

Sociology of Religion


Writing for Literature 


Student Admission Requirements

The program accepts applications from incarcerated individuals who posses a high school diploma or its equivalent. Students are required to commit themselves to the entire program  The application process requires:

  • an application
  • a written essay
  • a personal interview

Transfer Credits

Rising Hope is not a college and cannot offer college credit.  This means that Rising Hope courses would not apply to the Limited Credit Time Allowance. However, many colleges and universities have expressed a willingness to consider Rising Hope courses which a student has successfully completed and which have met NCCRS standards.  There are no guarantees.  Every school makes admissions and academic decisions on a case-by-case basis.  In addition to SUNY Empire State College and Nyack College, Granite State College, Thomas Edison State University, Excelsior College and Charter Oak College have been particularly open to our former students.

Rising Hope courses which have received NCCRS  credit recommendations are more likely to be accepted in some programs than in others. A college may grant  college credit for a course completed or waive a required  prerequisite or required course. When looking at a college, it is important to contact the Admissions Office or Registrar’s Office to learn what the policies are of that particular institution and how they might apply to the courses which you have taken with Rising Hope. Although a description of each course which has been evaluated by NCCRS is listed on the NCCRS website, NCCRS suggests that students keep a copy of the syllabus for each course they have taken should more detail be needed in the admission process.

When it comes time to apply, the Rising Hope academic record can be obtained by a request in writing sent to:

Rising Hope, Inc.
260 King’s Mall Ct.  #124
Kingston, NY 12401.
The record will be sent directly to the college or university listed in the request.
There is no charge for this.

Rising Hope and Other College Programs

Mercy College offers a 4-year bachelor’s degree program at Sing Sing and Nyack College offers a 4-year bachelor’s degree program at Fishkill. An Associates degree program is in the early stages at Fishkill. These programs are offered at Sing Sing and other facilities through Hudson Link, a non-profit organization.

Bard College provides a 2-year associate’s degree program at Woodbourne and Fishkill, funded by Bard Prison Initiative.

Rising Hope functions totally independently of these programs. We are all volunteers with our own funding sources. Many of the students accepted into the Mercy, Nyack and Bard programs have completed the Rising Hope program.

Nyack College and Rising Hope

Rising Hope has an agreement with Nyack College. Upon release, our students can apply to Nyack and upon acceptance, Nyack will accept up to 30 credit hours earned from Rising Hope. Nyack College is located in Manhattan

SUNY Empire State College

Rising Hope has a Memorandum of Understanding with Empire State College so that our stu- dents are waived the application fee and are assigned a mentor to help them through the appli- cation process. Although Empire State College does not offer any courses within the facilities, they have campuses throughout the state as well as on line courses which are available to our alumni upon release. They are eager to work with our alumni. Here are some examples of how our courses can be accepted as part of the student’s academic program.

Associates Degree in Science (Concentration in Business Studies)
Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Practice Introduction to the Hebrew Bible College Writing I Introduction to Sociology
Writing for Literature Introduction to the World Religions
Total Credits: 18 (out of the 66)

Associates Degree in Arts (Concentration in Religious Studies)
History of Christianity I
History of Christianity II Introduction to the Hebrew Bible Introduction to the New Testament Sociology of Religion
College Writing I
Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Practice Writing for Literature
Total Credits: 36 out of 64

Associates Degree in Arts (Concentration in Human Services)
Introduction to Counseling
Family Counseling Introduction to Human Services Introduction to Sociology Introduction to the World Religions Sociology of Religion Introduction to the Hebrew Bible College Writing I
Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Practice Writing for Literature
Total Credits: 30 out of 66