*Incarcerated rapper Ja Rule has made good use of his time behind bars in New York – he’s earned his high school diploma.

The artist, real name Jeffrey Atkins, began serving a two-year prison sentence on weapons and tax evasion charges in June. He dropped out of high school as a teenager to pursue his rap career, but he has now finally received his equivalency degree after passing his GED exam.

Ja Rule says he got a little help with his studies from a fellow inmate – Dennis Kozlowski, a college-educated former business CEO.

“I was studying for my GED and Koz came in and talked to me and said, ‘If you need any help, let me know.’ Outside (of prison), you don’t meet guys like this every day. This place is amazing,” Atkins tells the New York Daily News.

The star, who is due to walk free in June 2013, is now looking to further his studies – he plans to begin taking college courses later this month.