Mt. Tam students studying in the yard at San Quentin State Prison

Our Student Community

Mount Tamalpais College students bring with them a wide array of life experiences, and are eager to learn and enthusiastic about the opportunity to enroll in college. Our students range in age from 20 to 77, and include men and transgender women. The majority of our students are people of color. Many students are the first in their family to earn a degree, while some are working on finishing up a degree or starting a second. Some are reentering the classroom after decades away from school, while others have recently completed high school or a GED.

512
STUDENTS
In 2019, 512 students took at least one of our college prep or AA degree courses at San Quentin State Prison.
3,731
STUDENTS
Since 1996, nearly four thousand students have taken at least one course with us at San Quentin.
48
YEARS OLD
In 2019, our enrolled students ranged in age from 20 to 77, with an average age of 48.

Kamsan Suon

In the beginning, I doubted myself and didn’t know if I had the intelligence to make it through the program—I had never written essays before. Now, I’m a writer and a poet. Writing has become a crucial part of my healing process.”

Rahsaan Thomas

Everybody should have access to a college education because everybody counts. Everybody has value.”

Mt. Tam student, Rashaan

Corey McNeil

After earning my degree, I no longer think of life as if I’m on the outside looking in. It’s put me on equal footing. It allows for better understanding and compassion in all of my interactions with people and in my personal relationships.”

STUDENT RESOURCES

If you were a Prison University Project student through Patten University at San Quentin between 1996 and January 17, 2020, you can obtain your transcripts through Parchment. You may wish to first read the Parchment Guide to Ordering Transcripts PDF for instructions. To access Parchment, select the Transcript Requests button below.

Alumni Resources

If you are an alumnus of Mount Tamalpais College (formerly the Prison University Project), our Alumni page offers resources to support academic and professional development post-release.

Open Line

Open Line is an online journal documenting the intellectual and creative work of Mount Tamalpais College students and alumni. The site includes creative and academic writing as well as articles published in news outlets nationally.

Who are Mount Tamalpais College students?

“We are diverse. We come from every corner of the state, and indeed many parts of the world. We bring different faiths, races, orientations, genders, backgrounds, and other points of identity to have spirited discussions in class about everything from Plato’s Allegory of the Cave to the latest Trump tweet. We range in age from 19 to our early 70s.

We are conservative, liberal, radical, and libertarian. We are devout, agnostic, and atheist, yet we have thoughtful discussions and learn not just to cultivate our own intellects, but also to respect the thoughts and beliefs of others.

Through our classes we are challenged. Working to meet the challenge teaches us not just the material at hand, but how to be patient with ourselves, how to advocate for our needs in healthy ways, how to collaborate, and how to succeed or fail with positivity and humility.”

—James King, Mount Tamalpais College alumnus