Feds expand Pell Grant program for prisoners working on college degrees

Prison inmates around the U.S. are getting the chance to do something that was almost unheard of a generation ago: pursue a college degree while behind bars and with financial support from the federal government.

Inmates in 42 states and Washington, D.C., can now get federal grants to work with colleges and universities to earn trade certifications, associate’s degrees and even bachelor’s degrees.

And the programs are expected to become even more popular, thanks to a bipartisan effort to let prisoners use federal Pell Grants to help pay for higher education classes while incarcerated. A grant expansion announced by the Biden administration—following another by the Trump administration—will bring the number of participating colleges and universities up to 200.

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