Financial Aid

Need Help Paying for Your Education?

Education is a powerful tool that can help you overcome the challenges of your past and build a brighter future. There are many people who want to help you succeed, including financial aid providers, colleges and universities, and other organizations. In fact, the federal government has made it easier for formerly incarcerated individuals to qualify for financial aid.

Types of Financial Aid

  • Federal Pell Grants: Pell Grants are a type of federal grant that does not have to be repaid. You may be eligible for a Pell Grant if you meet certain income and other requirements. The maximum Pell Grant award for the 2023-2024 academic year is $6,895.
  • Federal Work-study: Federal Work-study is a program that allows you to earn money to help pay for your education. You can work part-time while you are in school, and the amount of money you can earn through Federal Work-study is based on your financial need.
  • Federal Loans: Federal Loans are a type of loan that you must repay. However, you may be eligible for a subsidized Federal Loan, which means that the government will pay the interest on your loan while you are in school and during a determined grace period.

Other Types of Financial Aid

  • Scholarships: There are many scholarships available to formerly incarcerated individuals. You can find scholarships by searching online or contacting your school’s financial aid office.
  • Grants: There are some private grants available to formerly incarcerated individuals. These grants may be awarded by foundations, businesses, or other organizations.
  • Loans: There are also private loans available to formerly incarcerated individuals. However, these loans must be paid back and may have higher interest rates than federal loans.
  • Employer Tuition Assistance: Tuition assistance is when an employer contributes toward an employee’s higher education. In most cases, the student pays for the fees upfront. Once the course is complete, the employer will reimburse the cost. Check with your company’s human resources department to get more information on the program.

Example Scholarship Programs for Formerly Incarcerated Individuals

  • The Prison Education Foundation Scholarship: Preference is given to those who successfully earned their GED while incarcerated and those willing and able to pay part of the net cost of their tuition.
  • Cappex Easy College Money Scholarship: Enrolled in high school or college or planning to enroll in the next 12 months. Applications are due April 1 and scholarship amounts range from $1,000 to $10,000.
  • The Charles W. Colson Scholarship: This scholarship requires the recipient to attend Wheaton College’s undergraduate or graduate school, or the correctional ministries credential program.
  • Transcending Through Education Foundation Scholarship: You must be accepted to a vocational training program or post-secondary education institution that awards a degree, a license, or a certificate by the time the scholarship is awarded (you may apply while awaiting acceptance).

How to Apply for Financial Aid

The first step in applying for financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. You can complete the FAFSA online by clicking here.

You can submit a completed FAFSA online by creating an account on the FAFSA website. To do this, you will need to provide your Social Security number, date of birth, and other personal information. If you need to obtain any identification documentation, visit our Get Started page for more information and to locate an office in your area.

No Email Address?

If you do not have an email address, you can print and mail the FAFSA. You can also get a paper FAFSA by calling 1-800-433-3243 or by visiting your local library or college financial aid office.

Once you have completed the FAFSA, you can mail it to:

Free Application for Federal Student Aid
P.O. Box 1855
Montgomery, AL 36101-1855

Here are some quick tips for completing the FAFSA:

  • Include all your income and assets information.
  • Answer all questions honestly.
  • If you are unsure about how to answer a question, leave it blank.
  • If completing online, you can save your FAFSA and come back to it later.

Once you complete the FAFSA, you will be notified of your eligibility for financial aid. The FAFSA is a long form, but it is important to complete it carefully. If you have any questions, you can contact the FAFSA helpline at 1-800-433-3243.

We wish you all the best in your educational journey!

Please note that the availability of financial aid for formerly incarcerated individuals may vary depending on the state and the institution.

Your mind is precious. It has the power to unlock infinite possibilities.

– Joel Annesley
Be Inspired