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Two more California universities to offer ‘Second Chance’ Pell Grants to incarcerated people

The U.S. Department of Education announced Tuesday that 73 new colleges, including two in California, would join the Second Chance Pell Experimental Sites Initiative to provide federal financial aid to people in state and federal prisons.

“Access to high-quality postsecondary education is essential to incarcerated individuals, but for far too long, people in prison were left out,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.  “The expansion of Second Chance Pell and these new pathways out of default are critical steps for incarcerated individuals to be able to access educational opportunities that will provide second chances to build a future.”  

San Diego State and San Francisco State are the two latest California institutions to join the program.

Currently, there are 130 colleges and universities across 42 states and Washington, D.C., participating in the Second Chance program. Congress passed federal legislation in 2020 restoring Pell eligibility to all people in U.S. prisons starting July 2023.

The Second Chance Pell Experiment, which was first established in 2015 by the Obama-Biden administration, has provided Pell Grants to enable students to earn degrees and skills. In its first four years, over 7,000 students received bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees or technical certificates or diplomas.