Students Denied Federal Aid for Drug Violations: Damaging the future of our youth
1998 revision to the Higher Education Act (HEA) included a new provision that
blocks college opportunities to students revealing drug convictions on their
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The drug provision denies an
education to someone with a prior drug conviction. Rather than making it easier
for people to obtain a good education, the HEA revision now makes it more
difficult. People of color are most commonly denied federal aid, since they are
more likely to be convicted for drug offenses than those who are white.
BACKGROUND: The HEA was signed into law
over three decades ago by President Lyndon Johnson to establish federal
financial aid programs, which give more students an opportunity to get a college
education. In 1998, during a periodic reauthorization of the HEA, the drug
provision denying federal aid to those with a prior drug conviction was quietly
added in a Congressional committee. Making education less accessible should not
be the role of the government. The Higher Education Act must be restored to
reflect President Johnson's vision of providing students with financial
assistance in order to obtain a valuable college education.
For more information visit:
Dangerous Drug War Bill: The aftermath
ISSUE: The RAVE Act (The Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act)
became law in 2003. The RAVE Act makes property owners criminally responsible
for drug use occurring at their events. Although the language of the bill
specifically targets raves, opponents have feared the bill's broad language,
arguing that it could be construed to apply to events like picnics and
neighborhood barbecues, and that it would interfere with the freedom of young
people to peacefully assemble and express themselves through dance and music.
Opponents also worried that the RAVE Act would jeopardize on-call medical staff,
cool down rooms and other precautionary measures that are available at large
events to respond to drug overdose, since event organizers would not want to
appear to be accommodating of illegal drug use on their property.
The Drug Policy Alliance is investigating the implementation of the RAVE Act. For
more information on the RAVE Act and its effects, please visit the Drug Policy
For more information contact la_racialjustice @ uua.org.
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Last updated on Tuesday, November 1, 2011.
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