The U.S. Department of Education announced Colby Community College is included in the expansion of the Second Chance Pell Experimental Sites Initiative to provide need-based Pell grants to people in state and federal prisons. Currently, there are 63 colleges that teach in 26 states participating in Second Chance Pell; the second cohort of 67 new schools will bring the total to 130 colleges in 42 states and the District of Columbia.
The vast majority of incarcerated people eventually return home, and access to postsecondary education in prison means they are far less likely to recidivate and are better equipped to play productive and positive roles within their communities. Access to postsecondary education also improves prison safety for both incarcerated people and corrections employees alike.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to improve the lives of so many people," said CCC Executive Vice President Brad Bennett. "We look forward to further expanding our relationship with the Norton Correctional Facility and the Kansas Department of Corrections.
The Vera Institute of Justice has been providing technical assistance to participating colleges and corrections departments since the initiative’s inception, working to ensure the programs provide quality higher education in prison and post-release.
“This expansion of Second Chance Pell will improve lives and strengthen communities,” said Nick Turner, president and director of the Vera Institute of Justice. “The expansion is also a testament to the fact that broader access to college in prison is a strategy that works – to improve safety and expand opportunity in our country.”
“I’ve had the pleasure of visiting several Second Chance Pell institutions and have seen firsthand the transformative impact this experiment has on the lives of individuals who are incarcerated,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “By expanding this experiment, we are providing a meaningful opportunity for more students to set themselves up for future success in the workforce. The stories I’ve heard from students and institutions engaged in the experiment are very encouraging, and we look forward to seeing how this expansion will help even more students achieve a better future.”
To see a full list of sites selected in the second cohort of Second Chance Pell, visit the U.S. Department of Education website.