Bill would allow Tennessee inmates to use college grant program

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two Memphis lawmakers are pushing a bill that would make it easier for inmates in Tennessee to pay for an education.

The bill, filed by Rep. Barbara Cooper and Sen. Raumesh Akbari, would allow inmates to enroll in courses offered by a community college or Tennessee College of Applied Technology funded through a Tennessee Reconnect grant.

Tennessee Reconnect is a “last dollar” grant that pays the remaining balance of tuition and fees for students who want to pursue technical certificates or associate degrees after other state financial aid and Pell Grants have been applied.

"They don`t want to help those who get in trouble or are on the other side of the law," said Cooper. "When they come out they will be ready to go to work and ready to help our economy. "

Right now, the federal government limits who is eligible for financial aid. Many times that includes inmates.

Cooper believes this will help the recidivism rate and the economy.

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