Free Scholarships for Felons

For a convicted felon getting a well paying stable job goes a long way in re-entering society and leading a normal life again. One thing that plays a crucial role in getting hired is having a college degree.

However, paying for college is expensive. Felons are often in a financially bad shape and struggle to make ends meet, this is where scholarships and grants come to their rescue.

According to 2014 RAND Study, those who receive correctional education are 43% less likely to return to prison that those who don’t receive correctional education. (Source)

Scholarship and grants play a vital role in helping people who find it difficult to pay for college. Unlike student loans, scholarships are like education grants that do not have to be paid back.

Scholarships are provided by educational institutions, foundations, businesses and local organizations. These are funds specially available for people in financial need. 

There is no limit to the number of scholarships that are available and that you can receive at one time. So, you can apply for as many scholarships as you qualify for.

There is a maximum limit to the amount of money that a scholarship offers to each student and some scholarships may not be able to cover your entire educational expense. So, it helps to receive multiple scholarships so that they cover the major part of your expense and you do not have to shell out money from your own pocket.

Some scholarships amount might be small and may only cover certain expenses of your education like the cost of book or living expenses but everything helps no matter how small they appear to be.

Just like any other students, felons too can apply for scholarships and grants if they wish to earn a college degree. Having a felony does not automatically disqualify a person from applying or receiving a scholarship.

In fact, there are certain scholarships that are specifically made for felons.

Scholarships for Felons

After being released from prison, felons who are willing to change deserve a second chance to get their life back on track and have a new beginning.

A stable well paying job can play a vital role in their transformation, but felons often lack the skill or the qualifications that are required to secure a job. Those skills can be acquired by enrolling in a college or a professional program. A college degree can significantly boost your odds of getting a good job.

But we all know that college education is really expensive. That is why many philanthropic organizations provide funding through scholarships to reduce the financial burden on felons. Felons should not miss out on such opportunities as it might really turn their life around. 

List of popular grants for Ex Felons

  • $5,000 Boots to Business Grant for Felons
  • $5,000 Government Grants for Arts, Business, and Community Programs
  • $5,000 Walmart Grant
  • $5,000 Southern Filmmaker Grant
  • $5,000 Doris Day Animal Foundation Grant
  • $500 Cystic Fibrosis Recreation Grant
  • $1,000 Modest Needs Self Sufficiency Grant
  • $1,000 First Hands Medical Expense Grant
  • $50,000 Creative Capital Artist Grant
  • $1,000 Personal Grant from MicroGrants


Benjamin and Patricia Allen Scholarship
The Benjamin and Patricia Allen scholarship is available to students including felons who belong to the first generation from their family to attend a university. This is a $1000 scholarship available to undergraduate students who are enrolled in a full-time business degree program .

Charles W. Colson Scholarship
Charles W. Colson Scholarship is offered by the Christian school of Wheaton college to convicted felons who aspire to become future christian leaders. In fact, they offer scholarships specially for felons in their correctional ministries credential program.

Jeremy Gordon’s Commitment to Change College Scholarship
Jeremy Gordon’s Commitment to Change College Scholarship is offered four times a year to an inmate who is currently incarcerated in a federal prison. They should have a high school diploma or GED and not already possess a bachelor’s degree. Scholarships are available for students in accredited colleges like Adams State University, Louisiana State University and Ohio University.

Osher Foundation Reentry Scholarship
Osher Foundation Reentry Scholarship is available to students between ages 25-50 and have been out of schooling for at least 5 years. Students are eligible to receive this scholarship multiple times but upto a total of $5000.

Creative Corrections Education Foundation
Creative Corrections Education Foundation is a non profit that provides scholarships to enroll in college, trade school and certification courses. It is given to children of the incarcerated and at-risk young adults. It is issued at the end of August each year.

Prison Scholar Fund
The Prison Scholar Fund is an organization that transforms lives through education by providing college scholarships for felons and are funded by private donors. They believe in giving felons second chances through education as felons who receive correctional education are less likely to become repeat offenders.


While considering scholarships, felons should also pay attention to Federal student grants. Grants are not loans and they do not have to be paid back just like scholarships.

Certain types of felonies may disqualify you from Federal grants or scholarship so you must consider all the available options. Scholarships, grants and Federal student aid can be obtained by submitting an application. 

Many of the local scholarships and grants are not announced online, so the best place to find out about them is by contacting the college that you wish to attend.

Colleges have financial aid departments that have information about local financial aid provided by churches, local communities and other non profit institutions. They might be able to point you in the right direction and might also help you with the process.