If you are incarcerated or have been incarcerated in the past, you still may be able to get funding to help you achieve your education goals.
Money for College During Incarceration
You are generally not eligible for federal student loans while you are incarcerated. But you may be eligible for a Pell Grant, which does not normally have to be repaid.
Beginning on July 1, 2023, more people will be able to get Pell Grants to pay for education through eligible Prison Education Programs. The Department of Education is currently creating a website with more information about eligible Prison Education Programs, and we will update this page after it is released.
If you are not eligible for a Pell Grant, you can pay tuition for college education out of pocket or seek educational funding through state programs (availability varies by state). Private nonprofit organizations, including the Alliance for Higher Education in Prison and the Prison Scholars Fund, have also worked to expand scholarships and higher education opportunities for people while incarcerated.
Money for College After Release
After release from prison, your prior conviction and incarceration will no longer impact your eligibility for federal student aid. However, your eligibility for federal student loans may be limited if you are subject to an involuntary civil commitment for a sexual offense.
Note: Drug convictions no longer stop you from receiving federal student aid!