How a Pell Grant expansion will help 200 colleges improve public safety

More than 22,000 students have enrolled since the Second Chance Pell was launched in 2015
By: | July 30, 2021
The University of Utah Prison Education Project instructors teach courses based on the interests of individuals incarcerated at Utah State Prison. This fall, gender studies is being taught in the men’s prison.The University of Utah Prison Education Project instructors teach courses based on the interests of individuals incarcerated at Utah State Prison. This fall, gender studies is being taught in the men’s prison.

More college students in prison education now qualify for financial aid from the Second Chance Pell experiment, which the Biden Administration has expanded for 2022-2023.

About 200 colleges and universities across a wider geographic area will be able to support incarcerated students with Pell Grants, a substantial increase from the 130 currently participating, the U.S. Department of Education said.

The expansion represents “a crucial step” making incarcerated students fully eligible for Pell Grants, said Amy Loyd, acting assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education.

“Education plays a crucial role in people’s ability to prosper and advance,” Loyd said in a statement. “Too often justice-impacted individuals are left out of the higher-education landscape.”


More from UB: How to raise the quality of prison education programs 


Education in prisons improves public safety by reducing recidivism rates and increasing a student’s chance of employment, Loyd said.

More than 22,000 students have enrolled since the Second Chance Pell was launched in 2015 by the Obama administration with 67 programs in state and federal prisons. These students have earned over 7,000 credentials as financial aid has been offered to a wider number of colleges and universities.

The Department of Education intends to implement the legislative changes that will give students in college-in-prison programs full access to federal Pell Grants by July 1, 2023. The department will publish regulations on the program and hold public hearings.