By Philander Smith College
Philander Smith College (PSC) is pleased to announce its participation in the U.S. Department of Education’s Second Chance Pell Experiment, an initiative first launched by the Obama-Biden Administration to expand access to Federal Pell Grants for incarcerated individuals enrolled in participating programs.
Through the “PSC Restoration Project,” the institution will begin enrolling incarcerated individuals from the Tucker Correctional Facility and the East Arkansas Regional Unit in the fall of this year.
“Access to high-quality postsecondary education is essential to incarcerated individuals, but for far too long, people in prison were left out,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “The expansion of Second Chance Pell and these new pathways out of default are critical steps for incarcerated individuals to be able to access educational opportunities that will provide second chances to build a future.”
The Second Chance Pell Experiment is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader efforts to support reentry, empower formerly incarcerated persons, enhance public safety, and strengthen our communities and our economy. The Department has invited 73 colleges and universities to participate in the third round of the Second Chance Pell Experiment in an expansion that will bring the total number of schools able to participate to 200.
“We are honored to engage in this effort to provide educational access through the PSC Restoration Project,” remarked Roderick L. Smothers, Sr., president of Philander Smith College. “Our institutional mission is grounded in social justice. Therefore, we could not be more proud to grant incarcerated individuals a real opportunity for a second chance and to help ensure that we are indeed striving to change the world for the better.”
The project at Philander Smith College is being co-coordinated by Dr. Carmen Hardin, Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice, and Assistant Professor Dr. Alexis Griggs. Within five years of release, through the initiative eligible incarcerated students can receive Pell Grants to fund their pursuit of degrees in criminal justice, philosophy & religion and liberal studies to help prepare them for successful futures.