Posted Date: May 20, 2019

Author:  Federal Student Aid

Subject: Invitation to Participate in the Second Chance Pell Experiment Under the Experimental Sites Initiative (ESI)

The Department is pleased to announce that it will consider letters of interest submitted on or after the date of this Electronic Announcement from title IV-eligible postsecondary institutions to participate, beginning with the 2019-2020 award year, in the Second Chance Pell experiment under the Experimental Sites Initiative (ESI) authorized under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). The Second Chance Pell experiment was established in an August 3, 2015, Federal Register Notice ("2015 Notice"). 1 The 2015 Notice required institutions to submit a letter of interest by October 2, 2015, to receive priority to be considered in the experiment. The 2015 Notice also provided that letters of interest received after October 2, 2015, may still be considered for participation, at the discretion of the Secretary. Institutions actively participating in the Second Chance Pell experiment need not submit an additional letter of interest to continue participation in the experiment; however, applicants that were previously not accepted will need to submit a new letter.

Under the ESI, the Secretary has authority to grant waivers from certain title IV, HEA statutory or regulatory requirements to allow a limited number of institutions to participate in experiments to test alternative methods for administering the title IV, HEA programs. ESI experiments are designed to facilitate efforts by institutions to explore innovative practices aimed at improving student outcomes, the delivery of services, or both.

In order to ensure continued diversity of institutions in the experiment and to allow participation by institutions that have recently developed capacity to serve eligible students who are incarcerated in Federal or State penal institutions, the Secretary continues to accept letters of interest from institutions to participate in the Second Chance Pell experiment. Increased participation will benefit students and allow both the Department and the public to learn more about the impact of providing incarcerated individuals the opportunity to use Pell Grants to pursue postsecondary education.

If your institution is interested in participating in the Second Chance Pell experiment beginning with the 2019-2020 award year, please review the 2015 Notice and submit a letter of interest no later than September 17, 2019. Letters of interest must be submitted as a Portable Document Format (PDF) attachment to an e-mail message sent to The subject line of the email should read "ESI 2019-Second Chance Pell." The letter of interest should be on institutional letterhead and be signed by the institution's president, chancellor or chief financial officer. The letter must include the institution's official name and Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education Identification (OPEID) number, as well as a mailing address, email address, and telephone number of a contact person at the institution.

As stated in the 2015 Notice, please include in the letter a listing of the academic programs that the institution is considering for inclusion in this experiment and, for each of those programs, an estimate of the number of participating students. We understand that institutions' academic program listings and the actual number of students who participate may vary from the information submitted in the letter.

Submitting a letter of interest does not commit the institution to participate in an experiment, nor does it commit the Department to approving an institution's request to participate. From the institutions that submit letters of interest, the Secretary will select a limited number of institutions based on criteria described in the 2015 Notice.

The Department encourages institutions to submit letters of interest that propose to include programs focused on preparing students for employment in a sector or occupation that currently has or is projected to have a number of open positions locally or nationally. We are also interested in programs that adapt program delivery to meet the needs of students, for example, through the appropriate use of distance education. We are also interested in programs that would allow students to continue their training or academic program upon release. The Department will finalize the specific evaluation and reporting requirements prior to the start of the experiment.

If you have any questions about the application process or the Second Chance Pell experiment, please send an email to



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