In a new program launched by President Obama’s administration, almost 1200 prisoners across 100 federal and state penitentiaries will have the opportunity to receive Pell grants to pursue their Associates or Bachelor’s degrees.
The program entitled Second Chance Pell Pilot Program is part of an initiative to prepare inmates for their return back into society, equipped with the skills so as to not return to the same situations.
Congress banned felons from the opportunities to receive Pell grants in 1984, citing it as unfair to law abiding citizens. While this law is still in effect, The State Department of Education is using an experimentation authority under the Higher Education Act.”
“We all agree that crime must have consequences, but the men and women who have done their time and paid their debt deserve the opportunity to break with the past and forge new lives in their homes, workplaces ad communities,” Education Secretary John B. King Jr. said on a call with reporters Thursday. “This belief in second chances is fundamental to who we are as Americans.”
Most of The schools participating in the pilot are public community colleges and many will start courses as early as July 1st. Some schools will host online classes, while others will attend the schools and/or creates hub of some sort between the facilities.
King Jr. says the funds used for the program in no way effect monies for other students using Pell grants.
One requirement for the program is the inmate must be scheduled for release within five years of enrolling in their course work.