Pell and Second Chance Pell

Pell Reinstatement and Second Chance Pell

Pell Grants Reinstated for All Incarcerated Individuals

At the end of 2020, federal legislation was passed to restore Pell funding to all incarcerated individuals. The return of public funding for prison education is a huge step forward in creating equitable access to higher education, increasing opportunities for incarcerated New Yorkers, and enabling SUNY to serve a greater number of incarcerated students in our communities. Although full implementation is not expected until fall 2023, in the meantime we continue working together with our existing campuses as well as new campuses to develop, expand, and improve college in prison programming throughout the state.

2019 Shawangunk Graduation; Photography by Babita Patel/Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison

What the expansion of higher education in prison means for SUNY

Below are a few ways the expanding field of higher education in prison may impact SUNY campuses: 

Additional Resources and References 

SUNY Resources 
Higher Education for the Justice Involved: How college-in-prison changes lives and communities 
Faculty Recruitment Toolkit and Training Resource Guide 
SUNY Higher Education for the Justice Involved 
SUNY’s Vision of Education Equity for Incarcerated People 

Further Reading and Research  
Changing Minds: The Impact of College in a Maximum Security Prison 
Equity and Excellence in Practice: A Guide for Higher Education in Prison Report  
Needed Specialists for a Challenging Task: Formerly Incarcerated Leaders' Essential Role in Postsecondary Programs in Prison 
Unlocking Potential: Pathways from Prison to Post-Secondary Education 
What Corrections Officials Need to Know to Partner with Colleges to Implement College Programs in Prisons

Second Chance Pell 

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Education created the Second Chance Pell (SCP) Experimental Sites Initiative to provide need-based Pell grants to those in state and federal prisons. SUNY's North Country Community College was one of the institutions selected to participate in the first round of the initiative.

In 2020, the U.S. Education Department announced an expansion of Second Chance Pell to include 67 additional post-secondary institutions, doubling the size of the initiative to temporarily restore Pell funding to incarcerated students. In this most recent round, three additional SUNY campuses were invited to participate:  Columbia Greene Community College, SUNY Adirondack Community College, and SUNY College at Potsdam.

News Articles

Financial Aid Is Restored for Prisoners as Part of the Stimulus Bill

Congress clinches deal to restore Pell grants for prisoners 26 years after ban

Congress lifts long-standing ban on Pell grants to people in prison

Congress Releases Bipartisan Year‑End Spending Deal FAFSA Simplification COVID Relief and Other Student Aid Provisions

US Department of Education

VERA Institute of Justice


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