Arizona Public Radio | Your Source for NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Federal Pell Grant progam expands benefits to thousands of inmates working on college degrees

The federal Pell Grant program is about to expand benefits to tens of thousands more students who are earning college degrees while incarcerated.

Thousands of inmates across the United States earn college degrees from behind bars each year, most of them paid for by Pell Grants. They have historically been offered to undergraduates most in need of financial assistance.

Next month, the program will reach another 30,000 incarcerated students, adding up to about $130 million in financial aid per year.

The new rules, which overturn a 1994 ban on Pell Grants for prisoners, begin to address decades of mass incarceration and stark racial disparities in the nation’s nearly two million prisoner population.