Education Department to Expand Second Chance Pell Experiment

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The U.S. Department of Education recently announced it would expand the Second Chance Pell Experiment for the 2022-2023 award year.

In December 2020, lawmakers lifted a 26-year-old ban that prohibited people in prison from receiving Pell Grants. Prior to the lift on federal aid access, the Obama administration launched the Second Chance Pell Experimental Sites Initiative in 2015 to allow incarcerated students in state and federal prisons to receive need-based Pell Grants.

The new extension will permit 67 new colleges and universities to participate in the program, bringing the number of participating schools from 131 to 200.

“Too often justice-impacted individuals are left out of the higher-education landscape. With the expansion of the Second Chance Pell experiment, we are taking a crucial step toward the reinstatement of Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated students,” Amy Loyd, acting assistant secretary of the Education Department’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education, said in a press statement.

Since its inception, the Second Chance Pell program has enrolled more than 22,000 unique participants across 30 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The Education Department plans to implement legislative changes to allow eligible students enrolled in college-in-prison programs to access federal Pell Grants beginning on July 1, 2023, according to a press statement.

“The steps we’ve taken to include more geographic and program diversity in the experiment will strengthen our understanding of the needs of both the institutions and the students they serve,” Loyd said.