“I Don’t Even Know What That Is”: Prison Higher
Education Student and Alumni Understandings of the Pell Grant Among Four Institutions
Author(s): Gaskill, S., Castro, E. L., & Aguilar Padilla, E.
Publisher: Research Collaborative on Higher Education in Prison
Launched in 2015, the Second Chance Pell Experiment allows a select number of institutions
education to provide Pell Grants to incarcerated students. To date, much of what is known about the
implementation and impact of Second Chance Pell comes from the perspective of non-incarcerated
practitioners. In this research brief, we draw on focus groups conducted with incarcerated students and
formerly incarcerated alumni of prison higher education programs who participated in or are actively
participating in the Second Chance Pell Experiment. Data were collected as part of the mixed methods
study, Exploring the Experience of Participants in Second Chance Pell, conducted by the Research Collaborative on Higher Education in Prison at the University of Utah.1 Our research team conducted focus groups with over 100 currently and formerly incarcerated students and alumni who enrolled at one of the four institutions of higher education and received the Pell Grant.