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RELEASE: How the Biden Administration Can Better Support Justice-Impacted Students Pursuing Higher Education

Washington, D.C. — Today, as part of an ongoing research series to mark Second Chance Month, the Center for American Progress released a new column examining three strategies the Biden administration can pursue to support justice-impacted students pursuing higher education. The piece focuses on three key policy changes, including limiting the use of criminal records information in college admissions as well as federal financial aid and housing access on America’s college campuses. Specifically, the author recommends that the Biden administration:

  • Issue an update to the Obama-era Beyond the Box report, which examined how colleges and universities use criminal records when making admissions decisions and how racial disparities in criminal justice contribute to racial inequities in higher education
  • Relaunch the Fair Chance Higher Education Pledge
  • Study colleges’ and universities’ reliance on criminal records information in making admissions decisions and provide institutions of higher education with guidance and technical support to adopt more fair practices
  • Remove questions about previous drug convictions from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Reinstate the Obama-era disparate impact rule to limit the use of criminal history information in housing and provide guidance to IHEs on the legal risks and social risks of denying students access to campus housing

“Supporting justice-impacted students is not only the right thing to do, but also a necessary strategy to create the high-skilled workforce demanded by our 21st-century economy. By helping justice-impacted students access college and earn degrees, the administration can put these students on a pathway to meaningful careers that afford a higher standard of living,” said Bradley Custer, senior policy analyst for Postsecondary Education at CAP.

Read the column here: “3 Ways the Biden Administration Can Give Second Chances to Justice-Impacted College Students” by Bradley Custer

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at or 202-741-6292.