The U.S. Department of Education will expand the Second Chance Pell experiment for the 2022-2023 award year. This experiment has given educational opportunities to thousands of justice-involved people who have been unable to access need-based financial aid.
Thanks to the expansion, up to 200 colleges and universities (compared to the 131 currently participating) will be able to offer their prison education programs with Pell Grant support.
“Education plays a crucial role in peoples’ ability to prosper and advance,” said Amy Loyd, acting assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education. “Too often justice-impacted individuals are left out of the higher-education landscape. With the expansion of the Second Chance Pell experiment, we are taking a crucial step toward the reinstatement of Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated students.”
Studies have shown that education in prisons reduces recidivism and improves employment rates for people upon release. Public safety is strengthened as people after incarceration are able to contribute more to society with an education.
So far, students have earned over 7,200 credentials in building new skills with Pell Grants. The Second Chance Pell Grant’s expansion additionally aims to include a wider variety of postsecondary education programs in most or all fifty states.