Tags: Barack Obama | Obama | Tax Dollars | Prisoners | Tuition

Obama Will Use Tax Dollars to Pay Prisoners' Tuition Bills

Image: Obama Will Use Tax Dollars to Pay Prisoners' Tuition Bills
(AP)

By    |   Friday, 24 Jun 2016 09:46 AM

The Obama administration will send 12,000 prison inmates to college, using taxpayer-funded Pell grants.

The Second Chance Pell Pilot program was first proposed last year, and since then the Department of Education has received 200 applications from colleges and universities looking to take part.

In an announcement Friday, the administration confirmed that although Congress banned financial aid for prisoners over 20 years ago, the Education Department has the authority to run experimental programs.

"We are using our experimentation authority under the Higher Education Act," Secretary of Education John King told USA Today.

Sixty-seven educational institutions were selected to participate, including mostly public schools, some private, but no for-profit operations, Politico reported Friday. The White House said 141 federal and state prisons are also involved.

"The evidence is clear, promoting the education and job training for incarcerated individuals makes communities safer by reducing recidivism," King said, according to Politico.

"For every dollar invested in correctional education programs, four to five dollars are saved on re-incarceration costs," the White House said in a fact sheet about the program.

Republicans disagree. Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, the chairman of the Senate committee that handles education, claims the administration lacks the authority to award prisoners Pell grants, which don't have to be repaid.

Last year, New York Rep. Chris Collins introduced a bill called the "Kids Before Cons Act" specifically in opposition to the pilot.

A study by RAND Corp. showed that prisoners who took part in educational programs while incarcerated were 43 percent less likely to end up back in jail within three years after being released, according to The Washington Post.

"We have called for Congress to reverse the mistake that was made in the mid-'90s to deny access to higher education to folks who are incarcerated by taking away Pell Grants," King said on a conference call with reporters. "But that ban remains in place until Congress acts."

King added that the pilot costs less than 0.1 percent of Pell spending, and will not impact other Pell grants.

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The Obama administration will send 12,000 prison inmates to college, using taxpayer-funded Pell grants.
Obama, Tax Dollars, Prisoners, Tuition
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2016-46-24
Friday, 24 Jun 2016 09:46 AM
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