Last month, the federal government lifted a ban on federal student aid for incarcerated individuals. This will now increase the effort to support people who have committed a crime and help reduce the chance of them re-committing.
What is this ban? Well, the Federal student aid, including the Pell grant, is a valuable resource for students pursuing higher education. However, these funds were made unavailable to incarcerated individuals since 1994. The government is lifting this ban because it is part of the $1.4 trillion government pandemic stimulus package for 2021.
Education has been shown to help lower recidivism. It is shown educational programs lower the rate for people to re-offend by 43 percent. Furthermore, according to Andrea Cantora, the director of a prison college program at The University of Baltimore, every dollar spent on prison education saves American taxpayers 5 dollars in reincarceration costs.
More research has shown that a program called “Second Chance Pell”, which was started in 2015, allowed 67 universities to enroll incarcerated students using Pell grants on a trial basis. Over 17,000 students participated and 4,450 credentials have been awarded. In 2020, the program was expanded and helped influence the lifted ban on aid for all incarcerated individuals.
By lifting this ban, it opens up so many opportunities for incarcerated individuals by boosting their chance to find good jobs and expand their education whilst also saving taxpayers money.