Pell Grant Opportunities

pell second chancesJackson College is among 69  schools nationwide recently granted permission by the Department of Education to award Pell Grants to Michigan incarcerated people under the Second Chance Pell Grant experimental program. Incarcerated individuals with five years or less until their earliest release date, who have been misconduct free for the last two years, and have a high school diploma or GED, may be eligible for financial assistance.

Potential students should contact the facility principal for more information on the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) application process and contact Jackson College Financial Aid Office (517.796.8420) for information on filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form.

For general information on the Prison Education Initiative (PEI), please contact 517.796.8413.

Additional Information

This Second Chance program launched in July 2015 as an experiment to test whether participation in high-quality education programs increases after expanding access to financial aid for incarcerated individuals. The pilot program will allow eligible incarcerated Americans to receive Pell Grants and pursue postsecondary education with the goal of helping them get jobs and support their families when they are released.

With this new experimental Second Chance program, Jackson College expects to reach 1,305 Pell-eligible students in 2016-17 – the largest number of any of the 67 institutions participating.

  • For the Second Chance Pell grant, participating students must be within five years of release date and have at least six months of clear conduct.
  • Nationally, recidivism rates (those who return to prison within three years of release) can run as high as two-thirds, about 66 percent. Studies vary, but a meta-analysis by the Rand Corp. shows a rate of 16 percent recidivism for all who have significant participation in higher ed within prisons and even lower rates for those who earn degrees (6 percent nationally for those who earn a bachelor’s degree). Rand’s studies have also shown that for every $1 spent on prison higher ed, $5 is saved in terms of lower problems in prison, lower recidivism rates and other return on investment (meaningful contributors on tax rolls, restored families, lessened costs of crime and criminal justice costs, etc…).
  • The Second Chance Pell program will not affect any other Pell awardees, and is less than .1 of 1 percent of the entire Pell budget.