There's a program to help prisoners get an education in MN

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Three Minnesota colleges have been chosen to participate in an experimental program to help prisoners get an education.

The Obama Administration announced Friday that the Department of Education has selected 67 colleges and universities throughout the country to be part of the Second Chance Pell Pilot Program.

The program aims to give 12,000 incarcerated students an education.

The Minnesota schools selected are Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, Pine Technical and Community College and South Central College. And about 100 Minnesota students are expected to participate during the 2016-17 school year.

How does it work?

The $30 million grant program is geared towards prisoners who are expected to be released within the next five years, according to Inside Higher Ed.

USA Today says the eligible inmates will be able to use grant money to pursue a two or four-year degree at one of the selected colleges.

Those schools will offer classroom-based and/or online classes at corrections facilities.

Inmates haven't been eligible for Pell grants in 22 years, the news source reports.

What's the impact?

The hope is that education will help prevent people from going back to jail.

The Department of Justice says two out of three ex-offenders will be back in prison within three years.

And prisoners who get correctional education are 43 percent less likely to return to prison within that time frame, according to the news release.

The grant is also expected to save money in the long run.

It is estimated that for every $1 spent on education, up to $5 will be saved on students who don't return to prison.

There are currently 2.2 million people in American prisons and jails.

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