AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Amarillo College announced it was receiving a $100,000 grant from Ascendium Education Group’s “Ready for Pell” initiative to improve educational opportunities and position itself when eligibility for the Pell Grant will be reinstated for those in prison.
AC said “Ready for Pell” is designed to help institutions that provide post-secondary education in prisons. Since 1994, incarcerated people have been prohibited from receiving Pell Grants, but this will change nationwide in July 2023.
“These are significant funds because once Pell eligibility is restored, our incarceration enrollment will increase significantly,” said David Hall, associate dean of technical education at AC. “This money will allow us to hire a coordinator and provide necessary services such as educational advice and financial assistance.
Currently, AC said it offers its diesel technology program to prisoners in the Clements Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Amarillo. AC said it also plans to offer HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) classes at the Clements unit next fall.
Hall said the low enrollment among prisoners is because their tuition and fees are paid out of pocket or through private loans.
“The addition of Pell should instantly change our numbers,” Hall said, “and that’s good because it will allow us to provide educational pathways in high-demand occupations — here and across the state.