More prisoners may soon have access to federal subsidies to pay for college under a new Obama administration initiative, ending a 20-year ban on Pell grants for state and federal prisoners, reported Politico.
The move could come as soon as this week. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Loretta Lynch are scheduled to visit Goucher College’s Prison Education Partnership at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup, to make “an important announcement related to federal aid.”
The Obama administration has increased total federal aid available to students by more than $50 billion and increased tax benefits and credits by an additional $12 billion, part of a total of about $150 billion a year in grants and loans for higher education. More than 2 million additional students now receive Pell grants, and the maximum Pell award has increased by more than $1,000.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed support for such a policy, and House Democrats including education committee ranking member Bobby Scott (D-Va.) introduced legislation to reinstate Pell eligibility for federal and state prisoners. Prisoners in local, municipal or county correctional facilities haven’t been banned from access to Pell.
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