Beyond Pell Restoration

Beyond Pell Restoration

Addressing Persistent Funding Challenges in Prison Higher Education Toward Racial and Economic Justice

This brief report from the Higher Education in Prison Landscape Project outlines the potential impacts of Pell restoration on the field of higher education in prison. Using original qualitative data from interviews with 12 higher education in prison programs (through the Higher Education in Prison Cohort Program) and quantitative data from the 2020 Understanding the Landscape of Higher Education in Prison national survey, the analysis focuses on persistent funding challenges that the Pell grant alone cannot address.

The report highlights three distinct and pressing challenges for the field of higher education in light of Pell restoration, and related to:

  1. Access to funding other than FAFSA, including college/university specific scholarships;
  2. Administrative sustainability and funding, and key stakeholder alignment on program vision and offerings, and
  3. Access to student support services.

 The report concludes with recommendations to adequately and responsibly support the growth and quality of higher education in prison programs, including: 

  1. Allowing incarcerated students to be eligible for institution-specific forms of tuition subsidies;
  2. Formalizing the positions of higher education in prison personnel; and
  3. Ensuring higher education in prison programs have the resources needed to provide robust student support services.

Read the full report to learn more about some of the most pressing funding issues for college-in-prison programs, the extent to which the restoration of Pell addresses these issues, and the implications for racial and economic justice.

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