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The History of Denying Federal Financial Aid to System-Impacted Students
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The History of Denying Federal Financial Aid to System-Impacted Students

Bradley D. Custer writes about the historical context of denying system-impacted students access to federal financial aid.

People who are impacted by the criminal justice system (“system-impacted”) face barriers when seeking financial aid to pay for college. Between the late 1960s and the early 2000s, Congress created laws that prohibited incarcerated students and students with certain criminal convictions from receiving federal grants and loans. This paper offers a comprehensive review of the history of those laws, which provides context for current debates on restoring Pell Grants to students in prison. Legislative documents, scholarly sources, and news reports were studied to build this historical review. Key lessons from history are discussed as to how Congress might treat system-impacted students in the near future.

The above excerpt was originally published in Journal of Student Financial Aid. Click here to view the full article.

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Bradley D. Custer

Former Senior Policy Analyst