New Pell Grant program allows inmates to take college classes

New Pell Grant program allows inmates to take college classes

The Department of Education has announced that 67 colleges and universities throughout the United States will participate in the new Second Chance Pell, a pilot program that aims to provide financial aid to incarcerated people. The selected colleges and universities will partner with over 100 federal and state penal institutions to provide college education and training programs to more than 12,000 eligible inmates.

The program will allow incarcerated individuals to pursue a college education that will help them get jobs and support their families upon release. Such programs have impacted the lives of inmates by reducing recidivism rates and cutting re-incarceration costs.

A 2013 study by the RAND Corporation found that inmates who participated in educational programs were 43 percent less likely to return to prison within three years compared to inmates who did not participate in these programs. In addition, the RAND study found that every dollar invested in correctional educational programs saved taxpayers four to five dollars on re-incarceration costs.

“The evidence is clear. Promoting the education and job training for incarcerated individuals makes communities safer by reducing recidivism, and saves taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “I applaud the institutions that have partnered to develop high-quality programs that will equip these students with knowledge and skills (to) promote successful reintegration and enable them become active and engaged citizens.”

The program also provides academic, career, and social support services to meet the unique challenges incarcerated individuals face in completing a college education.

Gas prices to reverse price trend, dropping substantially

Gas prices to reverse price trend, dropping substantially

Oregon’s gas prices, consistently ranked in the top four in the country, seem to be set for a major price reduction along with all others in the country.

“A national survey says the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline has dropped another 9 cents over the last two weeks, to $3.37, bringing the decline to 34 cents over the last 13 weeks,” a recent USA Today report stated.

Reasons for the drop in price include the decreasing price of ethanol and the lowered cost of production for winter gasoline.

The national average gas price has reached a seven-month low, and the Oregon average price has reached a five-month low. States bordering the Pacific Ocean – Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii – have the highest gas prices in the country.

Drivers in all states except for Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Nevada are paying less for gas than they were a year ago.

AAA is also predicting gas price decreases. “Gas prices most likely will average slightly less in 2014 as refineries continue to expand production capacity and increasingly rely on North American crude oil,” a year-end AAA post stated.

“Gas prices should average slightly less in 2014 if everything goes as expected, but most drivers may not even notice because the difference could be relatively small,” AAA spokesman Avery Ash said.

Though gasoline prices are predicted to continue dropping and remain relatively flat for some time, the price paid at the station may not decrease noticeably due to increasing taxes.