By Lt. Erik Smith, AA/Public Information Officer
Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison at Corcoran
and Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor
Office of Public and Employee Communications

To help staff advance in their careers, the University of Phoenix has partnered with the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison at Corcoran (SATF) to provide employees the opportunity to earn degrees through an on-site, cohort-based program.

CDCR employees statewide are eligible for a 20 percent tuition discount at the University of Phoenix. Students may also choose to take classes online. These courses will be with the general student population and will adhere to online requirements of five-week courses for 120 credits.

There are a wide variety of subjects offered for custody as well as support staff.

CDCR employees can receive the tuition discount and can earn credits toward their degree from completed institutional or corporate training courses. All prior learning assessment (PLA) fees will be waived.

Employees interested in the program should contact University of Phoenix enrollment advisers at (866) 263-4998 and be prepared to provide any military and corrections academy transcripts for evaluation. Additional information on the University partnership with CDCR can be found at

Special offerings at SATF

Employees can  earn their degrees at SATF with a cohort of their peers. The ideal cohort size is a minimum of 15 students and available only at SATF.

“The reason for our partnership with University of Phoenix is the strong belief that educated officers will not only write better reports but also will be able to make better decisions on the job and in everyday life,” said Tommy Wan, SATF associate warden. “Having a degree will open up promotional opportunities for our staff.”

The SATF cohort originated from an agreement initiated by the Office of Training and Professional Development (OTPD) in 2015, providing all CDCR staff the opportunity to expand their careers through educational opportunities at a discount.

The cohort will be offered one night a week at SATF as well as at the University of Phoenix Central Valley campus in Fresno.

For custody staff, the bachelor of science in criminal justice administration is designed to provide students with a strong foundation in criminal justice principles, concepts and theories, as well as a practice orientation to justice administration. The degree offers a global perspective, as well as specialty coursework in criminal justice services.

Kathy Gamboa, dean of operations for the College of Security and Criminal Justice at University of Phoenix, and members of the University of Phoenix academic, financial and enrollment grad teams visited agencies in Fresno, Visalia and Bakersfield in February to support a partnership with CDCR and lead information sessions to discuss the cohort. The graduation teams discussed requirements and resources for potential students.

“We are excited for the opportunity to launch a cohort in the Central Valley and have been working hard toward making the partnership a success.” Gamboa said. “There is a need for corrections professionals in this area and CDCR’s support of the program demonstrated the importance of establishing a partnership with local corrections officers and facilities.”