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Nyack Reps in the Nation's Capital for Second Chance Pell Grant Meetings

Posted by Deborah.Walker on Tuesday July 19, 2016


July 2016

Nyack Representatives Attend Second Chance

Pell Grant for Prison Education Meeting in D.C.

Nyack, NY—Nyack College Director of Financial Aid Steve Phillips, Nyack Prison Education instructor Cynthia Dorsey, and Nyack alumnus and Executive Director of Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison Sean Pica attended the inaugural convening of the Second Chance Pell Pilot Program in Washington, D.C.  (pictured l-r: Steve Phillips; Cynthia Dorsey; Dr. Louise Feroe, Hudson Link board member; Sean Pica, and John Bae, the Vera Institute) 

The initiative allows incarcerated students to receive federal Pell Grant funding for postsecondary education. Last month, the U.S. Department of Education announced the 69 selected colleges and universities that will provide postsecondary education to nearly 12,000 students in more than 100 state and federal prisons nationwide. From a pool of more than 200 applicants, Nyack College was selected to participate in the program.

In 1994, Pell Grant eligibility for students in state and federal prisons was eliminated as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. Last year, the U.S. Department of Education announced the Second Chance Pell Pilot Program to restore educational access for some of those individuals, improving their chances of successful and productive reentry after they are released.

The convening, which is hosted by the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera), features keynote presentations by Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates and U.S. Department of Education Secretary John B. King, who will also moderate a panel of students describing their college experiences in prison. During the day-long conference, postsecondary and correctional leaders from the selected pilot programs will have the opportunity to share ideas and hear from leaders in the field of correctional education in preparation for developing and implementing new programs or expanding existing ones.

“Expanding educational opportunity for people who are incarcerated not only improves their lives, but strengthens our communities by preparing them to contribute to society rather than return to prison,” said Fred Patrick, director of Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections. “We are thrilled that Nyack College is a partner in this important initiative to restore and expand access to college in prison.”

With support from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, Vera is providing technical assistance to the selected Second Chance Pell sites as part of the Expanding Access to Postsecondary Education Project. The project aims to facilitate the implementation and scaling up of quality higher education programs in prisons and those who work with students after they return home, and to assist with the development of policies, procedures, and practices to increase the participation of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals in these programs.

"It is an honor to be among the inaugural group of institutions of higher education chosen partner with the U.S. Department of Education to bring hope to the incarcerated," said Nyack President Dr. Michael G. Scales. "This initiative is a giant step in the direction of restorative justice providing tools for men and women to make a successful re-entry into society."


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