From 1998 until earlier this year, you could be denied student aid (loans) through any drug conviction, including possession of marijuana. The congressman trying to re-instate this bullshit (Souder) decided to withdraw it from a vote because he felt he’d lose, total victory.
by Ben Morris
Today, Congressman Mark Souder (R-Ind.) attempted to pass an amendment that would continue to prevent students with even minor drug convictions from receiving financial aid. His amendment was withdrawn, paving the way for students with drug convictions to seek higher education and a better life.
Souder authored a provision in 1998 that for nearly 10 years has blocked students with drug convictions from receiving financial aid. This year, congressional Democrats added language to SAFRA (Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, HR 3221), which fixed the problem created by Souder’s provision. During discussion of the bill today, Souder offered an amendment that would have undone this fix.
Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), a close ally of MPP, convinced Souder to withdraw his amendment.
Eliminating financial aid for students with drug convictions is one of the most small-minded policies in America’s war on drugs. By preventing these students from seeking opportunities in higher education, the provision locked many students into a cycle of poverty and forced low-income students to bear the brunt of a misguided, prohibitionist mindset. The fix, which would allow students access to aid, will provide hundreds of thousands of students the opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their families.
SAFRA is still working its way through the legislative process. MPP will continue to update you on its progress.