Logo with a gold A and blue P E P and blue text that spells out Augustana Prison Education Program

Recent News

Chalkbeat: "Pell grants return to Illinois" featuring Tyrone Stone and Jason Marks

David Staples shares his story on Fox 18 News - video, article

Restorative justice with Anselm by APEP faculty member Annelisa Burns

Heart of Hope Ministries Newsletter, featuring David Staples

Augustana Observer

"From Wrongfully Convicted to Exonerated Augie Student" and "APEP Poetry Blooms from Behind Bars"

Sharon Varallo appears on WVIK, local NPR

Scribble episode on APEP

Happy New Year! APEP was gifted one million times over by the Austin E. Knowlton Foundation.

Read all about it here.

For one inmate, the Augustana Prison Education Program paves a way for freedom

David Staples, 54, was released from the East Moline Correctional Center on Aug. 12 after serving 29 years for a crime that he did not commit. He was released early with help from good behavior credits, and from the Augustana Prison Education Program, or APEP.

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Tredway Library Prize for First-Year Research

On behalf of Thomas Tredway Library, we are excited to award the Tredway Library Prize for First-Year Research to Brandon Johnson for his paper “When Numbers Lie.” Brandon’s paper, written as part of Dr. Sharon Varallo’s FYI 101 course in the Augustana Prison Education Program, breaks down officially-reported statistics surrounding Japanese-American internment in the United States. Specifically, his paper argues that numbers have a voice, hold power, and that the many discrepancies surrounding these statistics have far-reaching and lingering implications. Brandon's paper is now available for download in Augustana Digital Commons.

Podcast - Higher Education In Prison

Access to higher education courses in prison is about to get a lot better in Illinois. Sharon Varallo is the director of the Augustana Prison Education Program. Carl Williams, a tutor and advocate with the Illinois Coalition for Higher Education in Prison, was incarcerated, and tells Craig Dellimore that the education he received turned his life around.

Listen now...

Illinois Department of Corrections and Augustana College Launch the First 'Second Chance Pell Experimental Site' in the State

(East Moline, Il) – Last week was the first week of fall semester classes for college students across the state – including 30 students enrolled in the Augustana Prison Education Program (APEP) inside East Moline Correctional Center. The program is the first Second Chance Pell Experimental Site in the state of Illinois to draw upon Second Chance Pell awards from the US Department of Education. In 2021, Augustana College applied and was selected to participate in the Second Chance Pell Initiative to provide the prison education program. The Second Chance Pell Initiative, which the US Department of Education expanded for the 2022-2023 award year, enables individuals in custody to participate in post-secondary education programs with Pell grant funding. This is the first program of its type in Illinois since incarcerated persons were banned access to Pell grants in 1994. This collaboration between Augustana College and the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) aims to identify best practices to share with the broader higher education community in Illinois and comes in advance of full Pell grant restoration for individuals in custody in summer 2023.

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Success Story

Illinois Innocence Project client and APEP student David Staples Released After 29 Years