CORRECTION - WGU Labs Partners With Nucleos To Pilot Degree Programs For Incarcerated Learners

WGU Labs will pilot the delivery of a degree program utilizing the Nucleos Learning Platform to provide incarcerated adults a secure onramp to higher education.

Salt Lake City, Utah, UNITED STATES

SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 10, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- This release has been edited to clarify program delivery by WGU, not Nucleos; to clarify that a pilot is being explored, rather than initiated; and to eliminate references that infer Pell program applications have been submitted and secured.

WGU Labs, an affiliate of Western Governors University (WGU), has entered into a strategic partnership with Nucleos, a social impact company with a mission to promote a more just society through education and training, to explore the potential for WGU to deliver bachelor’s degree courses to incarcerated people. The collaboration will leverage the Nucleos Learning Platform to bridge the existing IT infrastructure of prisons and deliver coursework to yield a bachelor’s degree. This partnership also comes at a pivotal moment in the national higher education landscape. Just recently, the Department of Education ruled that incarcerated individuals will again have access to Pell Grants, starting July 2023. 

The new federal ruling, in conjunction with the extended Second Chance Pell Grant program, expands the opportunities and pathways for incarcerated individuals to obtain a degree and enhanced career opportunities. Because 95% of incarcerated individuals are released, “It is imperative that they have access to effective pathways for reentry into the social and economic world that continued changing during their incarceration,” explains Jason Levin, executive director of WGU Labs. The Accelerator at WGU Labs will collaborate with Nucleos to determine how WGU can deliver degree programs to incarcerated people in correctional facilities by utilizing the Nucleos Learning Platform.

The importance of education access for incarcerated individuals should not be understated. “It’s all about education, it changed my life,” mentions Dave Dahl, founder of Dave’s Killer Bread and investor in Nucleos. “Access to education while in prison gave me an opportunity to create a better future.” The Bureau of Justice Statistics studies have found released prisoners re-offend at high rates – 47% of those convicted find themselves reconvicted and 52% return to prison– but educational interventions drastically counteract that trend. According to the Vera Institute of Justice, “Post-secondary education for people in prison could cut state prison spending across the country by as much as $365.8 million annually.” The Northwestern Prison Education program reports a, “43% reduction in recidivism rates for those prisoners who participate in prison education programs.”

Nucleos CEO & Co-Founder Noah Freedman asserts, “The data are dramatic. Helping people complete college degrees while incarcerated is the single most effective intervention to break the cycle of incarceration and give people the opportunity to lead productive, fulfilling lives. The Nucleos Learning Platform will allow people involved with the justice system to access WGU’s high quality programming.  We expect the partnership to significantly impact recidivism and reentry, promoting safer communities and a more just society.” 

Nucleos represents the 21st partnership for the Accelerator at WGU Labs since its inception in 2019. To learn more about the Accelerator and its partners, visit

About WGU Labs
WGU Labs is the nonprofit EdTech consulting, incubation, research, and design arm of Western Governors University, where our mission is to identify and support scalable solutions that address the biggest challenges in education today.

The Accelerator at WGU Labs provides research, market development and product enhancement services to early-stage education businesses. Through these services, as well as financial investments, the Accelerator advances the scale and impact of education companies that share its mission to increase student access, lower student costs and improve student outcomes. Learn more at or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Nucleos
Nucleos is a mission-driven organization that works to expand access to education and vocational opportunities for all people, especially those involved with the justice system. Their secure AI-powered platform provides personalized learning, training, and connections to careers - equipping individuals with the skills they need to be successful in today’s world.

The Nucleos platform provides incarcerated people with educational services to find work when they are released, high school programs, college degrees, and trade school certificates. Users are able to pursue programs of their choosing, setting them up for success in re-entry and post-release. Learn more at, or follow them on Twitter and Linkedin.


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