NAICU Washington Update

White House Calls on Colleges to Provide a “Fair Chance” for All Students

June 09, 2016

The White House is asking college and university leaders to sign onto a Fair Chance Higher Education Pledge that seeks to provide opportunity by “eliminating unnecessary barriers for those with a criminal record and creating a pathway for a second chance.” According to the White House, 15 colleges and universities have been named founding partners in launching this effort. Additionally, 25 colleges had signed the pledge at the time the initiative was launched.

By signing the pledge, college leaders commit to “providing individuals with criminal records, including formerly incarcerated individuals, a fair chance to seek a higher education to obtain the knowledge and skills needed to contribute to our Nation’s growing economy.” More information about the pledge can be found here.

The White House pledge includes several examples of actions that can be taken by colleges and universities to promote educational opportunity for all, eliminate barriers to reentry, and provide meaningful opportunities to succeed for reentering individuals.

The pledge comes shortly after the Department of Education called on colleges and universities to move “Beyond the Box” in admissions processes. It is also a complement to the Fair Chance Business Pledge, launched earlier this year, which calls on businesses to take similar actions in the workplace with potential employees who have been in contact with the criminal justice system. That pledge has been signed by several of the nation’s largest employers. Last year, the White House announced a “Second Chance” Pell Pilot Program to test new models to allow incarcerated Americans to receive Pell Grants under its Experimental Sites Initiative.

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