There are grant and loan programs to help ex-offenders get a fresh start.
Everyone makes mistakes, but some mistakes are more detrimental than others.
Though more than 650,000 inmates are released back into society per year to get their life back on track, convicted felons often have a hard time making that transition back into civilian life. With everyday civilians struggling to land jobs, it can seem next-to-impossible for ex-convicts to be hired anywhere, which is why many are forced to start their own businesses.
Fortunately, felons have the opportunity to apply for government grant and loan programs. We’ve gathered a list of the best grant and loan programs that could lead former incarcerated men and women to success after serving time.
-The Prison Entrepreneurship Program was founded in Houston, TX in 2004 with a mission to help diligent felons pursue entrepreneurship. Since then, other similar programs have popped up around the country. While they don’t provide direct capital, they do teach felons how to work with investors, as well as connect them with MBAs, executives, and politicians for needed assistance.
-Head over to Grants.gov for a slew of possible business grants available specifically for felons. The database is filled with different opportunities based on your needs and background.
-An option for those seeking a return to education is called College Now. The Adult Learner Program provides scholarships and assistance for students who pursue a non-degree certificate or license in a vocational or technical field, as well as associate or bachelor’s degree.
-Another excellent education opportunity is The Charles W. Colson Scholarship. Established back in 1988, this provides assistance specifically for ex-offenders. Awards are given based on needs, and they are commonly matched with other funding, too– including that of grants– for a Wheaton College education.
-The Pell grant is an educational alternative tool for felons. In order to be assessed, one must fill out the FAFSA before receiving this grant, which is based on a combination of income and assets.
-The Justice Program established the re-entry program in the United States in 2009. This is a National Re-entry Resource Center option with funds designed to provide felons with assistance. Grants for ex-convicts are distributed to qualifying applicants through organizations like correctional institutions, non-profits, and religious organizations. The funds help the felons with job placement, vocational training programs, temporary housing, and mentoring opportunities.
It is important to also note the misconception that ex-offenders are ineligible for any and all financial aid. Many think such is truth, and so they don’t even try to apply.
These programs help ex-offenders hold onto hope for the future despite the costly mistakes they have made in the past. While it is not easy, it certainly is possible.