Democrats Drop Bill on Pell Grants for Prisoners

Six Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill on Thursday to reinstate Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated college students.

The Restoring Education and Learning (REAL) Act is sponsored by Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards of Maryland along with Representatives Danny K. Davis of Illinois, Barbara Lee of California, Robert C. "Bobby" Scott of Virginia, Rosa L. DeLauro of Connecticut, and Cedric L. Richmond of Louisiana.

"The REAL Act is about restoring education opportunities for our nation’s prisoners so they will have the opportunity to reintegrate as productive members of the community post-incarceration," Rep. Edwards said in a written statement. "We know that helping economically challenged individuals work toward post-secondary study and training provides a better future for all Americans. We should provide such opportunities to all to ensure that the cyclical process of repeat incarceration does not continue."

In 1994, Congress banned the use of Pell Grants by prisoners in state and federal prisons. However, the U.S. Department of Education is poised to announce a limited exemption to the ban under the experimental sites program, sources told Inside Higher Ed. If the project is successful, it would add to momentum for the U.S. Congress to consider overturning the ban.


Related Links

U.S. Representative Donna F. Edwards' Press Release

Inside Higher Ed