Vera Institute of Justice | Vera Institute

The Expanding Access to Postsecondary Education Knowledge Bank serves as a one-stop resource to access research publications, news articles, events, and webinars about college in prison programs. This resource will assist corrections, colleges, researchers, advocates, and policymakers with engaging in the issues and staying informed and up-to-date. Use the refine or search functions to sort items by type (e.g., publication) or search by keyword.

College in Prison Adapts as COVID-19 Upends Education in Schools Everywhere

Daniela, who received her associate’s degree in 2014, says going to college and getting a degree while in prison gave her a second chance “to be who [she] always wanted to be.” But for decades, getting that second chance and accessing higher education has been a challenge for people like Daniela. The Second Chance Pell Experimental Sites Initiativ ...

Blog Post
  • Margaret diZerega
    Margaret diZerega
  • Nazish Dholakia
    Nazish Dholakia
April 28, 2021
Blog Post

Second Chance Pell: Four Years of Expanding Access to Education in Prison

The Second Chance Pell Experimental Sites Initiative, launched by the U.S. Department of Education in 2015, provides need-based Pell Grants to people in state and federal prisons. The initiative examines whether expanding access to college financial aid increases incarcerated adults’ participation in postsecondary educational opportunities. This re ...

Publication
  • Kelsie Chesnut, ​Allan Wachendorfer
April 27, 2021
Publication

A Monumental Shift: Restoring Access to Pell Grants for Incarcerated Students

After 26-year ban lifts, incarcerated students can once again receive this federal financial aid

In December 2020, Congress lifted a 26-year ban on Pell Grants for incarcerated students. The ban, enacted amid a slew of “tough-on-crime” policies in the 1990s, stripped people in prison of access to this federal financial aid. Incarcerated people earn pennies per hour for the work they do in prison, making it next to impossible for them to afford ...

Publication
  • Juan Martinez-Hill
March 04, 2021
Publication

Series: Target 2020

Voters in Battleground States Favor Restoring Pell Grants for People in Prison

These battleground state voters seem to understand that reinstating Pell eligibility for the greatest number of people in prison is a sound investment in our future. Plenty of other influential voices agree. Bipartisan momentum to get rid of the Pell ban for people in prison has been growing steadily: Since early 2019, the Association of State Cor ...

Blog Post
  • Margaret diZerega
    Margaret diZerega
September 29, 2020
Blog Post

Vera First Class - Webinar 1: Guiding Principles and Designing your Program

In the first of a 5-part webinar series, that will continue on Thursdays throughout the summer, speakers share their perspective on guiding principles and program design for postsecondary education programs in prison. The series was created to guide new college and corrections partners launching Second Chance Pell programs through the design and implementation of their new programs. Each webinar features guest speakers on topics drawn from Vera’s implementation memo series and soon-to-be publication: First Class. In April 2020, Second Chance Pell expanded to include 131 colleges in 42 states.

Video
July 02, 2020
Video

From Corrections to College in California

An Evaluation of Student Support During and After Incarceration

California is a national leader in providing higher education to justice-involved people. A key driver of this movement has been the Renewing Communities initiative, a joint project of the Opportunity Institute and the Stanford Criminal Justice Center that sought to expand access to higher education among justice-involved people in California, both ...

Publication
  • Lionel Smith, Léon Digard
June 10, 2020
Publication