Ex-Felons Financial Aid, Scholarships and Grants for School

A. Scholarships Available


Charles W. Colson Scholarship program awards ex-felons with an program on life formation and an education in college that helps develop them into Christian leaders. From its inception, several candidates have received the scholarships in attending Wheaton College’s graduate and undergraduate schools.

How to Apply

To apply for the scholarship, the applicant must contact the Institute for Prison Ministries office to acquire an application. Or, they can download the PDF form of the application from the website ipm@wheaton.edu.

The scholarship applications should be submitted on or before November 1 prior to the year which the student is applying for admission. The process of application requires the director’s home visit, the candidate’s campus visit and an interview in person with their advisory committee.

The Scholarships are only given once or twice in a year due to its competitiveness.

Program Requirements

To be eligible, the applicant must have the following:

  • be a Christian
  • be an US citizen
  • has been in prison for over a year due to a serious offense
  • be out of prison for more than a year and is established with a local church
  • possess a GED or a high school diploma. Transfer students should submit their transcripts
  • must meet the admission requirements of Wheaton College. Visit the site www.wheaton.edu for the information

Restrictions or Rules

The awards are based on the needs of the applicant and are commonly matched with the other funding and grants available to help defray the Wheaton College educational costs. The awards are meant to cover tuition, board, room and medical insurance for 1 undergraduate or graduate degree program. The program may assist with the needs of the student leading towards their academic success which includes personal counseling and tutoring. The students will be responsible for their transportation costs, books and miscellaneous personal expenses.

Sexual offenders, arsonists, felony offenders who are in-taking anti-psychotic drugs or under psychiatric care and habitual violent offenders WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE for this scholarship program.

Contact details

Institute for Prison Ministries
501 College Ave
Wheaton, IL 60187
(630) 752-5727

B. Grants Available


This grant program is part of the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative of the Justice Department. 49 states participate in this federal grant program that provides former offenders assistance in reentering society. The aim of these re-entry programs is to provide counseling and supervision to ex-offenders so that they will not go back to a life of crime. It also provides funding for the implementation, development, enhancement and evaluation of its reentry strategies that will assure the safety of the community and in the reduction of violent and serious crime.

How to Apply

An Interactive website is developed to assist individuals and agencies who seek guidance and assistance on offender housing concerns. The CSG or Council of State Governments and the BJA are partners in these reentry-related technical assistance and training project. The ex-felon can first seek assistance from their correctional agencies for these housing grant programs. They can also seek local housing developers for any programs available for housing ex-felons. There are some agencies that work with the federal government and state that provides living quarters for ex-felons.

Ex-offenders can also contact local organizations that are specifically designed to help ex-felons. They may need to be qualified for certain categories where there are housing options available (example programs for single parents, veterans, etc) and the ex-felon may have a greater chance of fitting into these free programs.

Program Requirements

Although the ex-felon will be subjected to programs that will require their attendance to constant counseling and supervision, they can be eligible for the grants program if qualified as a homeless individual under this definition: (1) an individual who does not have a fixed, adequate and regular residence; (2) an individual whose night time residence is a privately or publicly supervised and operated shelter which is designed to provide living accommodations temporarily; a private or public place not designed or ordinarily utilized as regular sleeping accommodations for humans; and an institution providing temporary residence to individuals intended to be institutionalized.

Restrictions or Rules

Although the program will not provide money to fill the pockets of the ex-offenders, the federal government will provide their support in the form of assisting the ex-felon find housing accommodations especially designed for ex-felons with their affiliate agencies or provide the initial funds to procure their lodging.

Contact details

US Department of Justice
US Department of Health and Human Services

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