Second Chance Pell Prison Education Programs

On July 1, 2023, Second Chance Pell (SCP) Grants will be reinstated for incarcerated individuals. Throughout 2021 and 2022, the U.S. Department of Education (US ED) moved through the Negotiated Rulemaking Process (NRMP) that included a public comment period to review regulations for the use of Pell Grants and the process postsecondary institutions must follow to apply for, and be approved, to provide Prison Education Programs (PEP) in Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC) facilities. The US ED released the final regulatory language in November 2022 on Pell Grant reinstatement based on the NRMP outcomes, much of which had been provided to the public to begin preparing now for the reinstatement in July.

Access to postsecondary opportunities is a critical component of the educational programming offered within Rhode Island's Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI), and RIDOC takes seriously the responsibility of ensuring such programs offer students the opportunity to succeed and grow academically, professionally and personally.


Institutions of higher education must adhere to the following application and approval process to be considered by RIDOC to bring a Prison Education Program into the ACI:

1. Meet with RIDOC to discuss potential programming options

Institutions of higher education should reach out to RIDOC’s Education Unit, at, to set up a meeting to discuss potential programming for incarcerated students.

2. New England Commission of Higher Learning (NECHE) Review/Approval

After an institution has established a partnership with corrections, that institution then initiates the substantive change(s) and additional location(s) with its accreditor, as applicable, to offer a new academic program.

3. U.S. Department of Education (US ED) Approval

After the postsecondary institution has agreed to terms with corrections and their accreditor, they must then apply to become a SCP/PEP site with the US ED

4. Apply to RIDOC using the Postsecondary Education Program (PEP) Application below.

Once all approvals are received by accreditors and US ED, institutions of higher education must complete and submit a RIDOC Postsecondary Education Program (PEP) Application (found below), which will be reviewed by RIDOC’s Postsecondary Education Review Committee (PERC). All approval letters received from accreditors and US ED must be submitted in conjunction with this application. Completed applications must be submitted to [Please do not include ("cc") RIDOC staff on application submission emails.]

Applicants who submit incomplete applications (i.e., missing information and/or approval letters, etc.) shall have their application returned unreviewed. Incomplete applications may be resubmitted once all requirements have been met.

Prison Education Program Application Deadlines

Application submission deadlines for approval to bring a Prison Education Program (PEP) into one of RIDOC's Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) are as follows:

Fall 2023: July 1, 2023

Winter 2024: October 1, 2023

Spring 2024: January 2, 2024

Summer 2024: March 1, 2024

Helpful Links and Information

Prison Education Programs FAQs