How Can Colleges Adapt Their Financial Aid Offices for Prison Education Programs?

"Colleges interested in providing prison education programs need to adapt their financial aid practices to best serve incarcerated students, according to a new report from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators," Higher Ed Dive reports.

..."Federal Pell Grants, which typically help low-income students pay for college, had been broadly unavailable to people in prison under a 1994 law. But since 2015, the Second Chance Pell pilot program has allowed incarcerated people to receive Pell Grants to fund their education at a limited number of colleges.

The widespread ban was repealed in 2020 legislation, and beginning July 1, the U.S. Department of Education will allow incarcerated students enrolled in eligible prison education programs to receive Pell Grants to cover up to the cost of attendance.

In anticipation of this change, NASFAA organized a working group of educators familiar with the Second Chance Pell pilot to create recommendations for colleges, lawmakers and the Education Department.

Colleges should adapt their standard cost of attendance calculations for incarcerated students when establishing the prison education program, NASFAA said. Any fees that cover resources unavailable to or unnecessary for students in prison, like health insurance or student activities, should be removed from their billing."

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Publication Date: 12/20/2022

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