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U.S. Department of Education Expands Second Chance Pell Experiment

During Second Chance Month, the U.S. Department of Education announced actions to help incarcerated individuals access educational programs as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader efforts to support reentry, empower formerly incarcerated persons, enhance public safety, and strengthen our communities and our economy. The Department has invited 73 colleges and universities to participate in the third round of the Second Chance Pell Experiment, an initiative first launched by the Obama-Biden Administration to expand access to Federal Pell Grants for incarcerated individuals enrolled in participating programs. The expansion will bring the total number of schools able to participate in the Second Chance Pell Experiment to 200. The Department is also announcing changes to policies to help incarcerated individuals with defaulted loans, including affirming that incarcerated individuals qualify for a “fresh start,” which returns borrowers with defaulted loans to repayment in good standing and allows them to access programs like the Second Chance Pell Experiment. The Department will also allow incarcerated individuals to consolidate their loans to help them exit default in the long term.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Amy Solomon will recognize today’s announcements by visiting DC Central Kitchen in Washington D.C. where they will have a conversation with formerly incarcerated individuals who participated in education while incarcerated.    

“Access to high-quality postsecondary education is essential to incarcerated individuals, but for far too long, people in prison were left out,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.  “The expansion of Second Chance Pell and these new pathways out of default are critical steps for incarcerated individuals to be able to access educational opportunities that will provide second chances to build a future.”  

The Second Chance Pell Experiment was first established in 2015 by the Obama-Biden Administration to provide Pell Grants to incarcerated individuals to allow them to participate in postsecondary education programs. To date, students have earned over 7,000 credentials, building new skills and improving their odds of success through the initiative. Today’s announcement of the expansion of 73 sites will mean that up to 200 programs will be able to participate in the program as the lead-up to the broader implementation of reinstatement of access to Pell Grants for incarcerated students starting on July 1, 2023. 

Selected colleges and universities will partner with federal and state penal institutions in almost all 50 states to enroll thousands of incarcerated students in educational and training programs. The vast majority of selected schools are public two- and public four-year institutions. Twenty-four of the newly selected educational institutions are HBCUs and minority-serving institutions. Selected schools may begin accessing Pell Grants as early as July 1, 2022. 

The Department’s announcements affirming that incarcerated individuals qualify for a “fresh start,” eliminating the impact of default on borrowers when the student loan payment pause ends, will also help more incarcerated individuals access the Second Chance Pell Experiment. Previously, incarcerated individuals interested in enrolling in the Second Chance Pell Experiment were twice as likely as the broader population to be turned away because they had defaulted loans. In addition to ensuring that incarcerated individuals benefit from the “fresh start,” the Department is also announcing a broader fix to ensure individuals have an opportunity to exit default and resume their educational journey in the long term. After Fresh Start is implemented, the Department will allow incarcerated individuals to consolidate loans to get out of default — an option available to everyone else and cut off for too long for incarcerated individuals.  

Providing education in prison is proven to reduce recidivism rates and is associated with higher employment rates, which will improve public safety and allow individuals to return home to their communities and contribute to society. Moreover, a 2018 study from the RAND Corporation, funded by the Department of Justice, found that incarcerated individuals who participated in correctional education were 48% less likely to return to prison within three years than incarcerated individuals who did not participate in any correctional education programs. RAND also estimated that for every dollar invested in correctional education programs, four to five dollars are saved on three-year re-incarceration costs. 

In December 2020, lawmakers expanded access to Pell Grants once again to include students who are incarcerated, as long as they are enrolled in prison education programs that are approved by their state corrections departments or the Federal Bureau of Prisons and that meet other requirements. The expansion of the Second Chance Pell Experiment will allow for opportunities to study the best practices for implementing the reinstatement of Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated students and will expand the geographic range of the programs. Expanding the experiment will also allow for a wider variety of postsecondary education programs that serve a more diverse population. 

The Department intends to then fully implement the legislative changes to allow eligible students in college-in-prison programs to access Federal Pell Grants beginning on July 1, 2023.

INSTITUTIONS INVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN SECOND CHANCE PELL EXPERIMENT, THIRD ROUND:

 

   
Adams State University   
   
CO   
   
Alpena Community College   
   
MI   
   
Appalachian Bible College   
   
WV   
   
Augustana College   
   
IL   
   
Austin Peay State   University   
   
TN   
   
Benedict College   
   
SC   
   
Butler County Community   College   
   
KS   
   
Campbell University   
   
NC   
   
Caribbean University   
   
PR   
   
Central Louisiana Technical   Commnity College   
   
LA   
   
Central Methodist   University    
   
MO   
   
Central Texas College   
   
TX   
   
Cowley College   
   
KS   
   
Dakota County Technical   College   
   
MN   
   
Dawson Community College   
   
MT   
   
Delaware County Community   College   
   
PA   
   
Denmark Technical College   
   
SC   
   
Des Moines Area Community   College   
   
IA   
   
Eastern Michigan University   
   
MI   
   
Great Basin College    
   
NV   
   
Great Falls College   
   
MT   
   
Hawaii Community College   
   
HI   
   
Helena College   
   
MT   
   
Herkimer County Community College   
   
NY   
   
Housatonic Community   College   
   
CT   
   
Hudson County Community   College   
   
NJ   
   
Indiana Institute of   Technology   
   
IN   
   
Indiana Wesleyan University   
   
IN   
   
Iowa Western Community   College   
   
IA   
   
Kent State University    
   
OH   
   
Lewis University   
   
IL   
   
Lewis-Clark State College   
   
ID   
   
Lincoln University   
   
MO   
   
Medaille College   
   
NY   
   
Metropolitan State   University    
   
MN   
   
Minneapolis Community and   Technical College   
   
MN   
   
Minnesota State University,   Mankato   
   
MN   
   
Mississippi Valley State   University   
   
MS   
   
Montana State University- Billings   
   
MT   
   
Moraine Park Technical   College   
   
WI   
   
NHTI-Concord’s Community   College   
   
NH   
   
North Central State College   
   
OH   
   
North Hennepin Community   College   
   
MN   
   
Northeastern University   
   
MA   
   
Oakwood University   
   
AL   
   
Philander Smith College   
   
AR   
   
Pillar College   
   
NJ   
   
Pima Community College   
   
AZ   
   
Pueblo Community College   
   
CO   
   
Robeson Community College   
   
NC   
   
Rockhurst University   
   
MO   
   
Roger Williams University   
   
RI   
   
San Diego State University   
   
CA   
   
San Francisco State   University   
   
CA   
   
Shaw University   
   
NC   
   
Simmons College of Kentucky   
   
KY   
   
Sinclair Community College   
   
OH   
   
Southeast Arkansas College   
   
AR   
   
Southern Wesleyan   University   
   
SC   
   
SUNY Corning Community   College   
   
NY   
   
SUNY Empire State College   
   
NY   
   
SUNY Jamestown Community   College   
   
NY   
   
Talladega College   
   
AL   
   
University of Idaho   
   
ID   
   
University of New   Haven/Yale   
   
CT   
   
University of New Mexico   
   
NM   
   
University of Scranton   
   
PA   
   
University of West   Georgia    
   
GA   
   
University of Wyoming   
   
WY   
   
Voorhees College   
   
SC   
   
Western Dakota Technical   College   
   
SD   
   
White Mountains Community   College   
   
NH   
   
Windward Community College   
   
HI   

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