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A drug conviction may no longer mean a loss of financial aid

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2020 | Drug Charges

Many people see youth as a time of experimentation. If your child is among them, you may have already navigated these waters in high school. Conversely, maybe your child always behaved while under your watchful eye, but you now have concerns about whether he or she will continue to walk a straight line once he or she moves out of your home to attend college.

Until recently, your college-attending son or daughter ran the risk of landing in serious trouble if authorities caught him or her with drugs and that arrest wound up leading to a criminal conviction. However, a congressional committee recently voted to repeal a federal law that has historically penalized college-attending drug offenders by making them ineligible for financial aid.

The Higher Education Aid Elimination Penalty

In the past, The Higher Education Aid Elimination Penalty came into play anytime a college student who used federal financial aid to attend school received a criminal conviction on a drug-related charge. Essentially, the penalty dictated that, upon conviction, your son or daughter would become ineligible for financial aid for at least a year, and potentially much longer, depending on the circumstances surrounding his or her drug crime.

Arguments against it

Those who voted in favor of repealing the Higher Education Aid Elimination Penalty noted that taking away a student’s ability to pursue higher education is an ineffective way of combatting drug crimes and reducing criminal behavior. Instead, they argued, furthering one’s education is a more effective means of doing so. Supporters of repealing the penalty also noted that it unfairly and unjustly targeted minorities, who authorities have statistically been more likely to target through drug enforcement efforts.

In the past, colleges and universities have learned about a student’s drug-related criminal past through questions presented by the FAFSA form. A new bill would eliminate this question, however, giving more young people with college dreams a real chance of pursuing them.