Federal Bill Introduced to Reinstate College Financial Aid to Students With Drug Convictions

financial aid
Photo: www.unthsc.edu

A bipartisan group of federal lawmakers are pushing to repeal a Higher Education Act provision that prohibits students with drug convictions from receiving financial aid for college. The Stopping Unfair Collateral Consequences from Ending Student Success (SUCCESS) Act, introduced by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), would eliminate the drug conviction question on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

“Blocking access to education simply doesn’t reduce drug problems. Education and job opportunities are among our best tools to fight the individual and community-level impacts of drug misuse, so student advocates, civil rights leaders and higher education officials have been pushing to repeal this senseless penalty for almost two decades,” says Betty Aldworth, Executive Director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), whose hundreds of chapters on college campuses have been working to overturn the aid elimination penalty since the organization’s founding in 1998. “The drug war as a whole is an abysmal failure that causes so many harms to so many communities, and removing college financial aid from the battlefield is a good start. But many more fundamental changes to our nation’s drug policies are still going to be needed even if this bill is enacted.”

Read moreFederal Bill Introduced to Reinstate College Financial Aid to Students With Drug Convictions

Bill to Prevent Removal of Financial Aid for Cannabis Misdemeanors Introduced in U.S. Congress

faidU.S. Representative Early Blumenauer (D-CO) has introduced House Resolution 3561, a proposal to prevent college students from losing federal financial aid funding simply because they’re convicted of a cannabis misdemeanor. The bill is named the Fair Access to Education Act of 2016.

“Nearly half of the population has smoked marijuana at some point in their lives, and now in four states and the District of Columbia, people can do so legally,” Representative Blumenauer said in a statement made on the House floor. “It is senseless that we would limit a student’s future for any drug offense for which they have served their sentence, and even more senseless that we would do so for an offense for a drug that a majority believes should be legal.”

Read moreBill to Prevent Removal of Financial Aid for Cannabis Misdemeanors Introduced in U.S. Congress