Are Students Enrolled In a Prison Education Program Eligible For Title IV Aid Other Than Pell?

Award Year: 2023-24 KA-36522 Helpfulness Rating 291 page views

This guidance is specific to the 2023-24 award year and later.

Yes. Students enrolled in a Prison Education Program (PEP) are eligible for Title IV aid beyond the Federal Pell Grant. Incarcerated or confined students are never eligible for Direct Loan funds while incarcerated, but they may be eligible for other types of Title IV aid.

See the following from GEN-23-05:

"Students who are confined or incarcerated remain ineligible for Direct Loan funds during the period of their incarceration. There are, however, no statutory or regulatory limitations on eligibility confined or incarcerated individuals for TEACH Grants, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), or Federal Work Study (FWS) programs. Students may not qualify for these types of assistance due to other program requirements, but institutions must consider those programs when awarding aid to enrolled confined or incarcerated individuals."

It is important to note that regulatory changes effective July 1, 2023, as announced in the October 28, 2022 Federal Register, limit the amount of a Federal Pell Grant funds that a confined or incarcerated student enrolled in a prison education Program (PEP) may receive as follows:

Also see the ED PEP Questions and Answers - Student Eligibility website. 

Student Aid Reference Desk: For additional information, try the Student Aid Reference Desk. It is a central hub of all the important financial aid resources you need with direct links to legislation, regulation, Dear Colleague Letters, and other ED and NASFAA references. It is updated on a rolling basis with the latest news and changes.

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