NAICU Washington Update

Some Incarcerated Americans to be Eligible for Pell Grants Under Pilot Program

August 06, 2015

As anticipated, the Department of Education announced a pilot program to enable certain incarcerated Americans to receive Pell Grants in order to pursue postsecondary education. The Second Chance Pell Pilot program will enable institutions of higher education to apply to partner with federal or state correctional facilities to provide the grants.

The goal of the initiative is to reduce recidivism by providing education that will help inmates obtain jobs once they are released. According to the Department of Education, “[h]igh-quality correctional education…has been shown to measurably reduce re-incarceration rates…” and “ultimately save taxpayers money and create safer communities.” According to a study by the RAND Corporation, “incarcerated individuals who participated in correctional education were 43 percent less likely to return to prison within three years than prisoners who didn’t participate in any correctional education programs.”

Information about the program, including how to apply, is available in the August 3, 2015 Federal Register. Priority will be given to institutions who apply by October 2, 2015.