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Pell Grant Access Extended to 760,000 Prisoners, Opening Doors to Free Higher Education Behind Bars

Pell Grant eligibility is set to be extended to people in prison on July 1. (Photo: The Independent)

Around 760,000 people currently in prison will soon have the opportunity to pursue higher education without the burden of financial constraints, thanks to the expansion of the Pell Grant expansion program.

The ban on federal aid for incarcerated individuals had been in place since 1994, but the recognition of the transformative power of education led to a reevaluation of this policy. (Photo: Bard Prison Initiative)

The ban on federal aid for incarcerated individuals had been in place since 1994, but the recognition of the transformative power of education led to a reevaluation of this policy. (Photo: Bard Prison Initiative)

Pell Grant Access Expansion in Prison

Starting on July 1, incarcerated individuals will be eligible for federal aid through the Pell Grant expansion, ending a ban that had prohibited most prisoners from accessing such assistance, the Hill reported.

This significant change has been in the works since 2020 when lawmakers voted to broaden the eligibility criteria for Pell Grants, allowing prisoners to benefit from this educational support.

According to a spokesperson from the Department of Education, approximately 760,000 prisoners will now have access to Pell Grants.

Moreover, as of July, the grant amount will increase to $7,395, ensuring that incarcerated students receive adequate financial support to pursue their educational endeavors.

The expansion of Pell Grant eligibility will enable an additional 30,000 prisoners to receive a total of $130 million in aid annually.

This funding will empower them to acquire an education while serving their sentences, equipping them with valuable skills and knowledge that can greatly contribute to their successful reintegration into society.

READ ALSO: $1,000 In Direct Payments Will Be Sent To Eligible Residents For 3 Years In Los Angeles County

Pell Grant Access Eligibility

According to a statement made by the Department of Education in April 2022, the expansion of the Second Chance Pell Experiment will provide the chance to analyze and learn from successful approaches in reintroducing Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated students.

Additionally, this expansion will broaden the reach of the programs to a wider geographical area.

This demonstrates a commitment to exploring effective approaches to implementing and expanding the educational opportunities available to incarcerated individuals.

Prison education programs have long been championed as effective ways to help incarcerated individuals acquire the necessary skills to secure employment upon release, ultimately reducing recidivism rates.

By providing access to higher education, these programs offer incarcerated individuals a chance to transform their lives and break the cycle of incarceration.

However, it is worth noting that the accessibility of these programs remains a challenge. Only prisoners held in facilities that are able to allocate the necessary time and resources to support a college program can currently benefit from these educational initiatives.

READ ALSO: Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Takes Effect; What To Know About The New Law?

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