A new education initiative is on the horizon, and it seeks to benefit those who are interested in fulfilling their higher education despite their confined circumstances.
According to The Washington Post, the Obama administration gave the green light to distribute federal Pell grants to close to 12,000 inmates across the country, as a means of affording college classes beginning in July. Inmates must have a release date within five years in order to be eligible for the program.
The Post states 67 colleges and universities have joined the Second Chance Pell Pilot Program, including University of Baltimore, Rappahannock Community College, and Anne Arundel Community College. This new initiative breaks a 22-year ban on funding inmates’ education through financial aid.
Education Secretary John B. King Jr. weighed in on the potential success of the program, which is slated to launch on July 1. “Helping incarcerated men and women to gain new knowledge, skills and credentials increases their chances of living successful lives, saves public dollars and makes our communities and our country safer and stronger,” he said.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch also backed the educational agenda. “Access to high quality education is vital to ensuring that justice-involved individuals have an opportunity to reclaim their lives and restore their futures,” Lynch said. “This program will help give deserving incarcerated individuals the skills to live lives of purpose and contribute to society upon their release.”