1998 Amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965
P.L. 105-244




(a) FINDINGS- Congress makes the following findings:

(1) Over 150,000 youth offenders age 21 and younger are incarcerated in the Nation's jails, juvenile facilities, and prisons.

(2) Most youth offenders who are incarcerated have been sentenced as first-time adult felons.

(3) Approximately 75 percent of youth offenders are high school dropouts who lack basic literacy and life skills, have little or no job experience, and lack marketable skills.

(4) The average incarcerated youth has attended school only through grade 10.

(5) Most of these youths can be diverted from a life of crime into productive citizenship with available educational, vocational, work skills, and related service programs.

(6) If not involved with educational programs while incarcerated, almost all of these youths will return to a life of crime upon release.

(7) The average length of sentence for a youth offender is about 3 years. Time spent in prison provides a unique opportunity for education and training.

(8) Even with quality education and training provided during incarceration, a period of intense supervision, support, and counseling is needed upon release to ensure effective reintegration of youth offenders into society.

(9) Research consistently shows that the vast majority of incarcerated youths will not return to the public schools to complete their education.

(10) There is a need for alternative educational opportunities during incarceration and after release.

(b) DEFINITION- For purposes of this part, the term `youth offender' means a male or female offender under the age of 25, who is incarcerated in a State prison, including a prerelease facility.

(c) GRANT PROGRAM- The Secretary of Education (in this section referred to as the `Secretary') shall establish a program in accordance with this section to provide grants to the State correctional education agencies in the States, from allocations for the States under subsection (i), to assist and encourage incarcerated youths to acquire functional literacy, life, and job skills, through the pursuit of a postsecondary education certificate, or an associate of arts or bachelor's degree while in prison, and employment counseling and other related services which start during incarceration and continue through prerelease and while on parole.

(d) APPLICATION- To be eligible for a grant under this section, a State correctional education agency shall submit to the Secretary a proposal for a youth offender program that--

(1) identifies the scope of the problem, including the number of incarcerated youths in need of postsecondary education and vocational training;

(2) lists the accredited public or private educational institution or institutions that will provide postsecondary educational services;

(3) lists the cooperating agencies, public and private, or businesses that will provide related services, such as counseling in the areas of career development, substance abuse, health, and parenting skills;

(4) describes the evaluation methods and performance measures that the State correctional education agency will employ, which methods and measures--

(A) shall be appropriate to meet the goals and objectives of the proposal; and

(B) shall include measures of--

(i) program completion;

(ii) student academic and vocational skill attainment;

(iii) success in job placement and retention; and

(iv) recidivism;

(5) describes how the proposed programs are to be integrated with existing State correctional education programs (such as adult education, graduate education degree programs, and vocational training) and State industry programs;

(6) addresses the educational needs of youth offenders who are in alternative programs (such as boot camps); and

(7) describes how students will be selected so that only youth offenders eligible under subsection (f) will be enrolled in postsecondary programs.

(e) PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS- Each State correctional education agency receiving a grant under this section shall--

(1) integrate activities carried out under the grant with the objectives and activities of the school-to-work programs of such State, including--

(A) work experience or apprenticeship programs;

(B) transitional worksite job training for vocational education students that is related to the occupational goals of such students and closely linked to classroom and laboratory instruction;

(C) placement services in occupations that the students are preparing to enter;

(D) employment-based learning programs; and

(E) programs that address State and local labor shortages;

(2) annually report to the Secretary and the Attorney General on the results of the evaluations conducted using the methods and performance measures contained in the proposal; and

(3) provide to each State for each student eligible under subsection (f) not more than $1,500 annually for tuition, books, and essential materials, and not more than $300 annually for related services such as career development, substance abuse counseling, parenting skills training, and health education, for each eligible incarcerated youth.

(f) STUDENT ELIGIBILITY- A youth offender shall be eligible for participation in a program receiving a grant under this section if the youth offender--

(1) is eligible to be released within 5 years (including a youth offender who is eligible for parole within such time); and

(2) is 25 years of age or younger.

(g) LENGTH OF PARTICIPATION- A State correctional education agency receiving a grant under this section shall provide educational and related services to each participating youth offender for a period not to exceed 5 years, 1 year of which may be devoted to study in a graduate education degree program or to remedial education services for students who have obtained a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent. Educational and related services shall start during the period of incarceration in prison or prerelease and may continue during the period of parole.

(h) EDUCATION DELIVERY SYSTEMS- State correctional education agencies and cooperating institutions shall, to the extent practicable, use high-tech applications in developing programs to meet the requirements and goals of this section.

(i) ALLOCATION OF FUNDS- From the funds appropriated pursuant to subsection (j) for each fiscal year, the Secretary shall allot to each State an amount that bears the same relationship to such funds as the total number of students eligible under subsection (f) in such State bears to the total number of such students in all States.

(j) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $17,000,000 for fiscal year 1999 and such sums as may be necessary for each of the 4 succeeding fiscal years.

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Last Modified: 09/26/2003