DOE will use Pell Grants to increase college access for incarcerated individuals

Correctional facilities that offer postsecondary programs help increase the employment outcomes of prisoners once they're released.

“Prison education programs bring hope to incarcerated students and their families and help prepare people for meaningful jobs and careers when they return to our communities,” said Amy Loyd, assistant secretary for the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education.

The Department of Education announced this week that Pell Grants will be extended to incarcerated individuals, thus allowing them access to college education programs. Correctional facilities that offer postsecondary programs help to increase students’ skills and employment outcomes and reduce recidivism.

Extending Pell Grants would ensure that corrections departments can offer prison-based education programs that meet the interests and needs of their students.

In addition, the DOE proposed regulations that would make changes to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to better protect veterans and service members from aggressive targeting practices by strengthening the “90/10” rule for for-profit colleges, which them from receiving more than 90% of their revenue from federal student aid. It’s the most recent effort from the Biden-Harris Administration in their commitment to ensuring institutions are held accountable while increasing access to postsecondary education.

“Predatory, deceptive practices that target veterans and service members have no place in higher education, period,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “The Biden-Harris Administration believes education should be honoring veterans and service members for their contributions to our country, not exploiting them for financial gain.”

The department also said they are clarifying procedures for higher education institutions swapping from for-profit to non-profit status. “These rules will also ensure that efforts by for-profit colleges to convert to nonprofit status are genuine changes, not mere ploys to evade accountability to students and taxpayers.”

The proposed regulations will be released in the Federal Register where people are encouraged to provide their comments.

“Today, we take the next step toward addressing some of the most significant and pervasive problems in higher education, including unscrupulous recruiting of veterans and buses of the change of ownership process,” said James Kvaal, U.S. under secretary of education. “We are committed to finalizing these regulations expeditiously and turning to the work yet to come.”

These changes will take effect on July 1, 2023.

More from UB: Most employers still require college degrees, but for how much longer? 

Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a University Business staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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