Multiple Organizations Call for Education Department to Prioritize Pell Grant Restoration for Incarcerated Students

Prison Fellowship, a Christian nonprofit for prisoners, former prisoners and families and several other groups have submitted a letter Tuesday to Dr. Miguel Cardona, the U.S. secretary of education, asking that the Department of Education prioritize the implementation of Pell Grant restoration for incarcerated students.

Dr. Miguel CardonaDr. Miguel Cardona

Signatories include the ACLU, College and Community Fellowship, the Consortium of Christian Colleges and Universities, the Correctional Leaders Association, the Jesuit Conference Office of Justice and Ecology, Operation Restoration, the R Street Institute, Safer Foundation, and the Sentencing Project.

The reform was included in the December 2020 Consolidated Appropriations Act. But the statute doesn’t require the administration to implement this policy until the 2023-24 school year.

“In our work ministering to incarcerated men and women, Prison Fellowship has witnessed the transformative power of prison programming,” said Heather Rice-Minus, senior vice president of advocacy and church mobilization for Prison Fellowship. “Through Pell reinstatement, Congress expanded the toolkit for correctional leaders to promote constructive citizenship behind and beyond bars. We urge the Department of Education to make implementation of Pell restoration an immediate priority, and — if possible — allow for incarcerated students to access critical federal financial aid in the coming academic year.”