Washington, D.C. — As Congress works to pass a budget this week, it is possible that lawmakers will finally reverse the ban on Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated people. This would be the beginning of a long-overdue reversal of a sobering trend: Since the 1960s, college students with criminal convictions have lost more access to financial aid than they have gained, according to a new timeline from the Center for American Progress. Federal lawmakers have repeatedly sought to restrict financial aid access from students with certain criminal convictions and students in prison.
CAP’s timeline illustrates the legislative hurdles enacted for students with criminal convictions over the past several decades. While the potential action on Pell Grants would be an important first step, it will not be a simple task to reverse the long-running trend.
“The restoration of Pell Grants for people in federal and state prisons would be a historic milestone in the pursuit of affordable, accessible higher education for all,” said Bradley Custer, a senior policy analyst at CAP and author of the timeline. “It would reverse an act by Congress 26 years ago that abruptly closed the classroom doors to more than 23,000 students and decimated prison college programs for a generation.”
Click here to read “Federal Financial Aid for College Students With Criminal Convictions: A Timeline” by Bradley D. Custer.
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