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Allan Wachendorfer is a program associate with the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) where, since 2018, he’s been working to expand access to postsecondary education in prison through technical assistance to college and corrections partners across the country. Allan, his team at Vera, and their national partners are collaborating on a national campaign to overturn the ban on Pell Grants for people incarcerated in state and federal prisons. In 2019 he coauthored "Lessons from Second Chance Pell: A Toolkit for Helping Incarcerated Students Complete the FAFSA".


Prior to joining Vera, Allan was the Director of Public Policy for the Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers for five years and was a LEO Lecturer at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. During that time, he worked tirelessly to shape the social work profession to be more systems advocacy-oriented, particularly encouraging social workers and students to join the movement to reverse mass incarceration.


In 2018 he was honored with the Whitney M Young Jr Award for Advocacy in the Spirit of Social Justice. He’s had numerous speaking engagements including keynotes at commencement ceremonies in prisons, presentations at national conferences, and guest lectures at colleges. Allan is a founding member of Nation Outside, where he now serves as board chair. He earned a B.A. in Social Work from Eastern Michigan University and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan.

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