Some 12,000 prisoners will have access to federal Pell grants to help pay for college courses under an effort the Obama administration is pursuing despite a decades-old congressional ban on offering student financial aid to inmates.
The program, first announced last summer, will bring together 67 colleges and universities -- including several in Maryland -- with 141 federal and state prisons across the country in an effort to reduce recidivism. Only inmates eligible for release will be permitted to enroll in the program.
A "belief in second chances is fundamental to who we are as Americans," Education Secretary John B. King, Jr. told reporters Thursday.