NAICU Washington Update

Second Chance Pell Expanded

April 29, 2022

The Second Chance Pell experimental site, which provides access to Pell Grants for incarcerated students, was expanded to include an additional 73 institutions, including 15 NAICU members. This experimental site began in 2015 under the Obama Administration, providing Pell Grants in up to 67 programs through postsecondary education initiatives in state and federal prisons. The program was expanded for the 2019-2020 academic year (AY) to allow up to 67 additional programs to participate and expanded once again for the 2022-2023 AY.  This week’s expansion brings the total number of colleges and universities participating to 200.

Changes were made in the FAFSA Simplification Act of 2020 to move beyond the limited scope of the experimental site project to allow for incarcerated individuals to access Pell Grants as long as they are enrolled in prison education programs that are approved by their state corrections departments or the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and that meet other requirements. 

The Department of Education intends to implement these legislative changes beginning on July 1, 2023. The Department also concluded a negotiated rulemaking session last year to formalize the prison education programs that would be offered to incarcerated individuals. The goal is for these changes to also go into effect by July 1, 2023. 

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