Two Catholic Colleges Awarded Second Chance Pell Grant

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Education awarded 67 colleges and universities with Second Chance Pell grants, to be used to off-set or even cover the costs of tuition for incarcerated individuals pursuing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the pilot program is meant to “build on existing research to examine the effects of restoring Pell eligibility.”

The Second Chance Pell grant pilot will have a significant impact on the students receiving the grants. According to a 2013 RAND Corporation study, offenders who participate in education programs while in prison are 43 percent less likely to return to prison within three years. In reducing re-incarceration or recidivism, RAND estimates that every dollar spent on prison education programs will save four to five dollars on re-incarceration costs.

Knowing that prison or correctional education programs have this kind of effect on offenders, over 200 institutions of higher education applied for Second Chance Pell, Inside Higher Ed reports. Of the 67 that were chosen to receive the grants, two Catholic colleges were chosen: Holy Cross College and Villanova University. Among the two institutions, the grants will be awarded to a total of 125 students.  Congratulations to these two institutions and their students!

How does your college or university educate incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals? Let us know! 

Department of Education Releases ‘Beyond the Box’ Resource Guide

With the awarding of 67 Second Chance Pell Grants and the launching of the Fair Chance Higher Education Pledge, the White House and the Department of Education are making impressive efforts to offer both incarcerated individuals and individuals returning from prison or returning citizens an opportunity to not only pursue higher education, but also to obtain meaningful employment. In another stride towards removing barriers from societal participation for these individuals, the Department of Education has also released a resource guide for institutions and businesses seeking to go ‘Beyond the Box.

Referring to the box or question on admissions and job applications regarding criminal history, ‘Beyond the Box’ is an initiative that seeks to “increase access to higher education for justice-involved individuals,” as the resource guide states. The guide gives important background information on the near impossibility to access higher education and employment after incarceration, the benefits of providing access to returning citizens, and a step-by-step guide for institutions considering going ‘Beyond the Box.’

For the 600,000 people who re-enter society each year in the United States, it is the hope of the ‘Beyond the Box’ initiative to show that their success is indeed possible.

Will your college or university go ‘Beyond the Box’? Let us know!