The Uncertain Fate of College in Prison
Date:  04-04-2018

What will happen when the 2017-2018 Pell Grant funding for incarcerated people ends?
From The Marshall Project in collaboration with The Hechinger Report

The Rev. Vivian Nixon remembers the first time she met with the Justice Department to brainstorm about ways to keep people from returning to prison once they got out. It was 2010, and she was one of a handful of formerly incarcerated people at the table.

“They actually asked us what is important,” said Nixon, the executive director of the New York-based College and Community Fellowship, which helps women get access to education after incarceration. Among the group’s suggestions were restoring Pell grants for prisoners. The grants help low-income students pay for higher education and were available for prisoners until 1994, when Congress banned inmates from the program.

Congress hasn’t changed its mind, but at the urging of advocates like Nixon, the Department of Education under former President Barack Obama greenlit a pilot program in 2015 that extended Pell grants to thousands of inmates. But every year the department must decide whether to continue the pilot, making its fate uncertain. “We had an administration that embraced reform,” Nixon said. “Now they don't return my calls.” Continue reading >>>