du Lac Tribal and Community College
Cloquet, MN The U.S. Department of Education recently
announced that Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College was selected
to participate in the new Second Chance Pell pilot program.
Featuring a renewed partnership between Fond du Lac Tribal and
Community College and the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Shakopee,
the college's application was selected as one of only three Second
Chance Pell pilot program sites in Minnesota. The Second Chance
Pell program allows incarcerated individuals access to Pell Grants
for college courses delivered online and in person. The college
will serve an estimated 45 students each year who are incarcerated
at the prison in Shakopee.
Pine Technical College and South Central College were the only
other Minnesota colleges to receive Second Chance Pell program funding.
Across the United States, selected colleges and universities will
partner with 141 federal and state penal institutions to enroll
approximately 12,000 incarcerated students in educational programs.
Through the pilot program, colleges may provide federal Pell Grants
to qualified students who are incarcerated and are likely to be
released within five years of enrolling in college coursework.
"This project partnership and pilot program selection takes
us back to one of the important points of our college's history
and unique purposes which is to provide opportunities to people
who may need a second chance," said Fond du Lac Tribal and Community
College President Larry Anderson. "It's something that Jack Briggs
strongly believed in, and for good reason. While many of our students
have a clear path to a college education and a satisfying career,
for others that path is not so straight and comes with obstacles
along the way. Through this program and partnership, we get to help
more students who need that second chance, and that is something
we have proven to be good at doing."
The Second Chance Pell is an experiment started last year to
test whether participation in high quality education programs increases
after expanding access to financial aid for incarcerated individuals.
The pilot program allows eligible incarcerated Americans to receive
Pell Grants and pursue postsecondary education with the goal of
helping them get jobs when they are released.
The site selection announcement builds on the current federal
administration's commitment to create a fairer and more effective
criminal justice system, reduce recidivism, and combat the impact
of mass incarceration on families and communities through educational
The United States currently has the highest incarceration rate
in the world with approximately 2.2 million people incarcerated
in American prisons and jails. Hundreds of thousands of individuals
are released annually from these facilities.
A 2013 study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice found
that incarcerated individuals who participated in correctional education
were 43 percent less likely to return to prison within three years
than prisoners who did not participate in any correctional education
programs. The study also estimated that for every dollar invested
in correctional education programs, four to five dollars are saved
on three-year re-incarceration costs.
"The evidence is clear. Promoting the education and job training
for incarcerated individuals makes communities safer by reducing
recidivism and saves taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and
collateral costs of incarceration," said U.S. Secretary of Education
John B. King Jr. "I applaud the institutions that have partnered
to develop high-quality programs that will equip these students
with valuable learning. The knowledge and skills they acquire will
promote successful reintegration and enable them become active and
"Access to high quality education is vital to ensuring that
justice-involved individuals have an opportunity to reclaim their
lives and restore their futures," said Attorney General Loretta
Lynch. "Through this partnership with the Department of Education
and institutions of higher learning around the country, this program
will help give deserving incarcerated individuals the skills to
live lives of purpose and contribute to society upon their release.
The Department of Justice will continue to pursue additional efforts
to reduce recidivism, promote opportunity, and give justice-involved
individuals a meaningful second chance."
Through partnerships with the correctional institutions, community-based
organizations, local non-profits and foundations, the selected postsecondary
institutions will enable, prepare, and support incarcerated students
in re-entering society as productive and engaged citizens.
Experimental sites such as the Second Chance Pell pilot program
allow the Department of Education to test innovative practices in
the delivery of Pell Grant dollars and use the resulting evidence
to inform improvements in Federal student aid policies. Under the
experimental sites authority of section 487A(b) of the Higher Education
Act, the Secretary of Education will waive existing financial aid
rules that prohibit otherwise eligible students who are incarcerated
from accessing Pell Grants. A 1994 Congressional change to the Higher
Education Act eliminated Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated
individuals in Federal and state penal institutions.