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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on Pell grants for prison inmates, focusing on the: (1) number of inmates receiving Pell grants; (2) effect on grants for other needy students; and (3) impact of education on recidivism. GAO noted that: (1) inmate participation is a small part of the total Pell grant program; (2) less that 1 percent of the approximately 4 million Pell recipients are incarcerated; (3) grants to incarcerated students do not affect grants to other needy students; (4) incarcerated Pell recipients are most likely to enroll in programs at public post-secondary schools for at least 2 years; and (5) measuring the impact of education on recidivism would require tracking individual prisoners over time because of the inter-related factors that influence recidivism.

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