TVCC Selected as New Second Chance Pell Experimental Site, To Offer Postsecondary Education in Prison
The U.S. Department of Education announced Trinity Valley Community College is included in the expansion of the Second Chance Pell Experimental Sites Initiative to provide need-based Pell grants to people in state and federal prisons. Currently, there are 63 colleges that teach in 26 states participating in Second Chance Pell; this second cohort of 67 new schools will bring the total to 130 colleges in 42 states and the District of Columbia.
The vast majority of incarcerated people will one day return home, and providing access to postsecondary education in prison means that these individuals are far less likely to recidivate and are better equipped to play productive and positive roles within their communities. Access to postsecondary education also improves prison safety for both incarcerated people and corrections employees alike.
“Being chosen to participate in this program is a huge opportunity for TVCC and we are thrilled to be selected,” said Sam Hurley, Ed.D. “We’ve been providing instructional programs at several TDCJ units since 1969, so to expand the educational opportunities to more offenders just enhances our goal of reducing recidivism and providing opportunities for employment once released.”
The Vera Institute of Justice has been providing technical assistance to the participating colleges and corrections departments since the initiative’s inception, working to ensure that the programs provide quality higher education in prison and post-release.
“This expansion of Second Chance Pell will improve lives and strengthen communities,” said Nick Turner, president and director of the Vera Institute of Justice. “The expansion is also a testament to the fact that broader access to college in prison is a strategy that works -- to improve safety and expand opportunity in our country.”
“I’ve had the pleasure of visiting several Second Chance Pell institutions and have seen firsthand the transformative impact this experiment has on the lives of individuals who are incarcerated,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “By expanding this experiment, we are providing a meaningful opportunity for more students to set themselves up for future success in the workforce. The stories I’ve heard from students and institutions engaged in the experiment are very encouraging, and we look forward to seeing how this expansion will help even more students achieve a better future.”
To see a full list of sites selected in the second cohort of Second Chance Pell, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website.