Biden Admin Offers More Incarcerated Students Second Chance Pells, Boosts Investment in Pandemic Recovery … Now, Will It Forgive Student Loans?

By The New England Council

DC Shuttle …

Hearings & Markups of Interest

The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety will hold a hearing on Connecting Workers and Communities: Preparing and Supporting the Broadband Workforce on Tuesday, May 3 at 9:30 a.m. in 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Education Department Expands Second Chance Pell Grants to Support More Incarcerated Individuals. The U.S. Education Department announced plans to expand Second Chance Pell Grant access to 73 additional colleges and universities. These efforts are part of the Biden-Harris administration’s goal to “support reentry, empower formerly incarcerated persons, enhance public safety, and strengthen our communities and our economy.” This expansion marks the third round of the Second Chance initiative that was first launched by the Obama-Biden administration and brings the total number of schools eligible to participate in the Second Chance Pell Experiment to 200. When speaking on this announcement, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona stated, “The expansion of Second Chance Pell and these new pathways out of default are critical steps for incarcerated individuals to be able to access educational opportunities that will provide second chances to build a future.” The Education Department intends to “fully implement the legislative changes” and allow eligible students in college-in-prison programs to access federal Pell Grants beginning on July 1, 2023. Read more here.

Foundations Join Ed Dept to Invest in Pandemic Recovery for Students. The Education Department announced “major” actions and investments to support the academic and mental health recovery of students. These efforts are part of the department’s broader goal to help students, schools and communities “recover from the pandemic and reemerge stronger.” Substantial investments were detailed at the department’s American Rescue Plan Recovery Summit, where the department highlighted $130 billion in funding under American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) given to states and districts across the country to “help K-12 schools reopen during the pandemic and recover.” During the summit, the department also outlined existing and new investments from the philanthropic community to “scale the impact of recovery efforts,” including a $17 million investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for high-impact tutoring, $14.4 million in grants from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation throughout 2022 to support afterschool across the country, and a $10 million investment from the Raikes Foundation to support organizations aimed at accelerating learning and expanding access to mental health supports. The department will also invest an additional $160 million through the Education Innovation and Research Grant Program to “assist with the impact of the pandemic on students and schools.” Read more here.

President Biden Considers Forgiving Student Loan Debt. During a 90-minute White House meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, President Joe Biden shared his plans to forgive some amount of federal student loan debt. This action would affect more than 43 million borrowers who hold more than $1.6 trillion in federal student loan debt. As reported by CBS News, Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA), who attended the meeting, said that Biden “never mentioned an amount nor did the president say that he was going to wipe out all student debt.” However, when Cardenas informed Biden that the Hispanic Caucus supports executive action that would forgive at least $10,000 in college debt, the president “smiled and said, ‘You’re going to like what I do on that, I’m looking to do something on that and I think you’re going to like what I do.'” This news follows the Biden administration’s decision earlier this month to extend the pause on federal student loan payments through Aug. 31 and reiterates Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s assertion during a White House briefing that the administration would “make a decision about canceling some student loan debt between now and the end of August or the pause would be extended further.” Read more here.

We publish the DC Shuttle each week Congress is in session featuring higher ed news from Washington collected by the New England Council, of which NEBHE is a member. This edition is drawn from the Higher Education Update in the Council’s Weekly Washington Report of May 2, 2022. For more information, please visit:


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>