Mapping Your Future: Second Chance Pell Experiment Schools invited to participate in revised experiment


Second Chance Pell Experiment Schools invited to participate in revised experiment

By Catherine Mueller

April 20, 2023

It is an exclusive invitation of sorts.

In an April 18 Electronic Announcement, the U.S. Department of Education issued an invitation to participate in a Revised Second Chance Pell Experiment Under the Experimental Sites Initiative. But the invite is only intended for those postsecondary educational institutions that currently participate in the Second Chance Pell experiment to apply to participate in a new experiment under the Experimental Sites Initiative (ESI).

The Second Chance Pell experiment was established in 2015 and provides need-based Pell Grants to incarcerated individuals to allow them to participate in eligible postsecondary programs. With the passage of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Simplification Act in 2020, Congress expanded the ability to serve confined or incarcerated individuals by reinstating Pell Grant eligibility for otherwise-eligible confined or incarcerated individuals enrolled in eligible prison education programs (PEPs) beginning July 1, 2023. As a result, the current Second Chance Pell experiment will end on June 30, 2023.

According to the Department, the revised Second Chance Pell experiment will provide new waivers to allow current Second Chance Pell institutions to continue serving their confined or incarcerated students after July 1, 2023. This will give participating institutions time to seek Department approval of their PEPs and avoid interrupting the educational opportunities of confined or incarcerated students currently enrolled in approved programs under the experiment. Specifically, the revised experiment will allow current participating institutions to continue offering their current programs to confined or incarcerated individuals for up to 3 award years while they work through the application and approval process for the PEP(s) they wish to offer under the new provisions.

The Department said letters of interest from current Second Chance Pell experiment participants interested in participating in the revised experiment must be submitted to the Department no later than May 18, 2023 to receive priority consideration. Procedures for submitting the letter of interest are outlined in an April 18 Federal Register notice.

Any questions about the application process or the revised Second Chance Pell experiment, should be sent to