Grow, Gift, Repair

Congress clinches deal to restore Pell grants for prisoners 26 years after ban

Congressional leaders have struck a deal to reinstate Pell grants for incarcerated students more than a quarter century after banning the aid for prison education programs, top Democrats and Republicans announced on Sunday.

The legislation, which is expected to be included as part of the year-end spending deal, would lift the prohibition Congress imposed in the 1994 crime bill that then-President Bill Clinton signed and Joe Biden championed as a senator.

It is part of a sweeping package of higher education policies that the leaders of the House and Senate education committees negotiated over the last several weeks. That bipartisan agreement will hitch a ride on the $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill, which congressional leaders are planning to pair with the nearly $900 billion coronavirus economic relief deal. The text of the deals had not yet been released on Sunday evening, but lawmakers were expected to take action on the measures in the coming days.