Indiana students in prison could soon receive Pell Grants for Ivy Tech certificates

By Claire Rafford
Mirror Indy

INDIANAPOLIS — Ivy Tech Community College is preparing to offer Pell Grants for incarcerated students to complete business administration and automotive technology certificates through its Madison and Terre Haute campuses, respectively.

The college announced last month that the Indiana Department of Correction had approved two business administration certificates through Ivy Tech Madison and an automotive technology technical certificate from the Terre Haute campus to be Pell Grant-eligible for students in state prison. The announcement comes after a new law went into effect last July that allowed incarcerated individuals to receive Pell Grants for the first time since 1994.

Incarcerated Hoosiers enrolled in prison education programs could receive up to $7,395 per year in federal grant money to pursue college and continuing education. The Higher Learning Commission, which accredits Ivy Tech, and the federal Department of Education will need to approve the programs before students can start working on the FAFSA.

Students who complete the programs also would be set up for employment after they are released. Ivy Tech would work with the Department of Correction to make sure that graduates get a job with an employer who will accept employees who have criminal records.

Ivy Tech’s Madison campus is the statewide hub for prison education, offering educational and vocational courses at correctional facilities across the state. More than 5,000 students who were currently or previously incarcerated complete programs through Ivy Tech each year.

In addition, Ivy Tech’s ELEVATE program helps students in the Indianapolis metro area who were previously or are currently incarcerated enroll in classes, find jobs and access support services like counseling or expungement clinics.

Claire Rafford covers higher education for Mirror Indy in partnership with Open Campus.  Contact Rafford at or on Instagram/X @clairerafford.